Could Daniel Jones additionally be on his way out of East Rutherford?
“We just got to a point where I thought we had dug ourselves a hole so deep that I didn’t see a clear path to getting out of it unless we completely blew it up and started all over again with a new general manager and a new head coach. I still think that there is a really good head coach inside of Joe Judge. I just felt like given where we are right now on the verge of bringing in a new general manager, we have to give that person the flexibility to bring in the head coach that he wants. I think that was a large part of the decision here in making a change. I just felt like we really needed to just start from the ground up again.”
That was Giants co-owner John Mara when speaking to the media Wednesday about the recent firing of head coach Joe Judge and “retirement” of general manager Dave Gettleman.
A few different phrases stand out to me in that entire paragraph: First, when Mara talks about needing to blow it up and start over. And then, when he says at the conclusion of the statement, “I Just felt like we really needed to just start from the ground up again.”
Blowing it up, you say?
Starting over, you say?
Taking those approaches with your abysmal football team (which finished 4-13 this year) would possibly mean executing a clean sweep, which one may argue would involve the ousting of your general manager, your head coach, and potentially, your quarterback.
The Giants already handled the general manager and head coach roles in that regard…could the departure of Daniel Jones be next?
On the surface, you could argue moving on from Daniel Jones is somewhat of a no-brainer. The third-year quarterback hasn’t consistently proven he’s the long-term face of the franchise.
Could he one day come into his own and play like the No. 6 overall draft pick that he is? Sure, I don’t doubt anyone in the NFL. This is a crazy world and a crazy league we all watch and love every weekend.
But the bottom line is the era of patience is over in the NFL — if you don’t solidify yourself as the clear-cut franchise quarterback within three years, it’s tough to believe you ever will.
Jones is injury-prone (he’s missed games every single season and was out for the final six matchups of 2021 due to a neck strain), turnover-prone (49 turnovers in 38 career games), and inconsistent.
So again, you would think parting ways with him and starting fresh with a new general manager, head coach, and quarterback would be an easy decision to make.
However, sadly, we’re here to tell you it isn’t. Because the alternative options at the quarterback position, in the event Jones is gone next season, aren’t exactly eye-opening when you look at the big picture…
The upcoming rookies
The 2022 NFL Draft class is not a strong quarterback class by any means.
It just isn’t — I don’t know what to tell you!
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, and Liberty’s Malik Willis figure to be three of the top prospects at the game’s most important position, but none are the surefire prospect that Trevor Lawrence was last year or that Andrew Luck was back in 2012.
None are the definite favorite to go to the first quarterback-needy team on the draft board, whether that be Detroit at No. 2 overall, Houston at No. 3, or the Giants at No. 5.
Could Pickett end up becoming a legitimate franchise quarterback? Perhaps.
Could Corral end up becoming the same thing? Maybe.
But if the new general manager that’s running the show in East Rutherford decides he wants to move on from Jones and roll the dice with any of these 2022 rookies, that GM will need to ensure the one he’s picking is the absolute best option and will be a surefire franchise quarterback for years to come.
Right now, it’s unclear if any of the three aforementioned names fit the bill. The same goes for Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder and North Carolina’s Sam Howell.
Starting the developmental process of a first-round quarterback for the second time since 2019 would not sit well with this impatient fanbase unless the new GM can make sure that rookie is the unequivocal right choice.
A veteran stopgap option
The Giants might look to the 2023 draft to acquire their potential long-term quarterback, and in order to do that, could attempt to sign a veteran to a one-year deal as a stop-gap option for 2022.
Jameis Winston would be a name to consider and the same goes for Teddy Bridgewater.
However, to me, this move might not make total sense. I was on board with it maybe a few weeks ago but I’ve come to my senses since then (I think I was stressed during the holidays and my mind was a tad bit foggy, but don’t worry, I’m back and better than ever).
If the Giants were to bridge the gap between now and 2023, why give a veteran (who would be starting games for this team) a veteran salary when you could just keep Jones for year four and not dish out as much cash amid your disastrous cap situation? The Giants are nearly $3 million over the cap for 2022.
Jones’ rookie deal carries a cap hit of $8.37 million next year — the Giants would be better off paying him than spending likely over $10 million of the cap on a vet.
Either way, the end game in this scenario would be to find the right man for the job in 2023 — taking the cheaper route to eventually reach that destination would be the logical move.
SEA to NYG?
The possibility of a Russell Wilson trade additionally lingers.
Given Seattle’s struggles this past season (the team finished 7-10 and in last place in the NFC West) and the need for a rebuild, the Wilson-Seahawks marriage could arrive at a divorce after a decade.
A trade for Wilson could thus be in play for Big Blue, and the 33-year-old quarterback might be worth around two first-round picks and two second-round picks. The Giants own two first-rounders in the upcoming draft (No. 5 and 7 overall) — they could possibly send the fifth pick and 2023’s first-round selection over to Seattle for Wilson.
Listen, I get the hype around this potential scenario — I really do, trust me. Wilson coming to New York would mask the issues surrounding the offensive line and the veteran signal-caller would certainly maximize the talent of both Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney.
But if the Giants are going to make a move to acquire Wilson, it has to be at the right price — I cannot stress that enough. You cannot overpay for a guy who is only getting older and hasn’t been consistently great since midway through the 2020 season.
This is not a move that should involve three first-rounders being sent out West; this is not a Deshaun Watson-type trade scenario.
Russ will be 34 next November and just experienced a year in which he recorded his lowest completion rate (64.8%) since 2017, his lowest passer rating (103.1) since 2017, and his lowest passing yards-per-game rate (222.4) since 2018.
You could argue he’s still in his prime, but at the extreme tail-end of it. Is a quarterback like that worth a pair of first-rounders and a pair of second-rounders?
That’s the question the Giants front office will need to answer should it actually engage in this potentially huge move.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY
Listen to ESNY’s Wide Right Podcast on Apple here or on Spotify here.
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