Joe Schoen has arrived in East Rutherford.
He’s here; a new era has commenced.
Joe Schoen, who the Giants hired to be their general manager late last week, took the podium Wednesday morning for his introductory press conference. The 42-year-old has an enormous task on his hands and will attempt to fix an organization that’s sunk further into the mud over the last half-decade.
He must first hire a head coach before constructing plans to bring the Giants out of salary cap hell while optimizing their resources in both free agency and the draft.
On Wednesday, we received a glimpse of what the Schoen era may contain. What are some significant takeaways from his presser at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center?
Schoen a Daniel Jones guy?
“I’ve looked at Daniel and once the new staff gets in here, we’re going to get together — offensive coordinator, head coach, the entire staff — dive into the film as a group and look at what Daniel does best and we’re going to try to allow him to put his best foot forward,” Schoen told media members. “Again, I’ve looked at him. I wasn’t here in the past, so I don’t exactly know what he was told to do, but I do know this, I know he’s a great kid, he’s been in this building the last two days, I’ve talked to him. There’s not anybody in this building that’s said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win. I think you’ve got to have those traits as a quarterback, and the kid has physical ability, he’s got arm strength, he’s athletic, he can run. I’m really excited to work with Daniel and, again, when the new staff gets in here, we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.”
Now I know what you’re thinking — it looks as if Daniel Jones is definitely going to be the starting quarterback in 2022, right?
No, not necessarily. Just because Schoen is saying this in January doesn’t mean Jones will be under center in September.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said “Josh [Rosen] is our guy” before Arizona drafted Kyler Murray, right? The Bears posted the infamous “QB1” tweet with Andy Dalton before drafting Justin Fields, right?
Smokescreen statements can be effective; there’s still the opportunity Schoen at least does his due diligence in the draft or trade market, and he should definitely weigh all of his options after Jones didn’t significantly develop in year three.
The head coach?
“All of our candidates bring a different skill set to the table. I’m not concerned if they’ve been a head coach before or if they haven’t. I’m concerned with getting the best head coach for the New York Giants,” Schoen claimed. “If they’ve had previous coaching experience, fine. If they don’t, that’s fine.”
The latter possesses NFL head coaching experience while the former does not, although many love Daboll (including myself, if you couldn’t already tell by my previous articles) due to his offensive-minded approach.
You saw how horrendous this Giants offense was the last two years, right? You saw the inability to run the ball, the lingering issues in and around the offensive line, and the mediocre quarterback play, right?
An offensive-minded individual needs to be the guy, but taking what Schoen said into consideration, Flores will certainly be an option.
The salary cap issue?
“It’s a concern and it’s real,” Schoen said. “[VP of football operations] Kevin Abrams and I haven’t talked about it yet. We looked at it, we’re going to get together at the end of the week or first of next week to start formulating a plan, but we’re going to have to get below the salary cap. Obviously, we’re going to have to clear some money, but, again, when the new head coach gets in here, the new staff, we’re going to get together, we’re going to watch the film, we’re going to evaluate everybody, we’re going to talk to the support staff. Who are the guys that kind of fit the vision that we’re looking for? Who are the guys that are going to buy into the program? Then, we’ll make educated decisions once we have more information. There are going to be difficult decisions that are going to have to be made.”
According to Spotrac, the Giants are estimated to be $5.74 million over the salary cap for 2022.
For those who are not aware — that’s not great! Especially since the Giants are nowhere near a contending team at the moment and have holes on either side of the roster, including potentially at crucial positions.
Thanks, Dave Gettleman and Kevin Abrams!
Expect “cap casualty season” to be a notable time period for the Giants this offseason. Various guys under contract for 2022 might find themselves available in free agency ahead of next year.
Blake Martinez could be gone. The same goes for Sterling Shepard, Kyle Rudolph, and maybe James Bradberry (don’t crush me for bringing up Bradberry — I said maybe).
My favorite quote of the day
“I believe in drafting, developing, and then retaining our own. I think that’s the way to build and supplement the roster with free agency.”
I love it!
This sounds like a Joe Douglas quote, and I obviously love what Douglas has done over in Florham Park (the Jets‘ losing is not his fault).
The Giants aren’t contenders right now; they’re not in the position to be breaking the bank on anyone. But they are indeed in the position to be developing players through the draft while keeping their cap situation in a manageable state.
I don’t want to see big moves in free agency this year. However, I do want to see the right players being chosen in the draft and those players becoming notable components of the roster while still on cheap rookie deals — that’s how you start building a team in this league (SEE: the Chiefs and Bengals, who will both be playing in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday).
BONUS QUOTE: John Mara on Daniel Jones
“We do feel that Daniel can play,” Mara said to the media. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing offensive coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that, but let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not. I have a lot of hope in Daniel, and I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.”
Jones, if he’s under center for the Giants in 2022, will be on his third head coach, fourth offensive play-caller, and will continue to play behind what could be another revolving door of an offensive line (nothing is certain at the left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle positions).
However, he would still need to prove he’s the long-term starter. No excuses.
With that said, the Giants cannot — and I mean cannot — exercise DJ’s fifth-year option. Give Jones a little push; provide him with motivation. If you’re going to roll the dice with him, make 2022 the make-or-break year and add a contract-based layer to it.
BONUS QUOTE No. 2: John Mara on Deshaun Watson
“We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson…There are so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that,” Mara stated. “Cap-wise, we couldn’t afford it. But more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that’s just not the right fit for us.”
I told you!
It would take a monstrous amount of effort to sell Mara and the rest of ownership on Deshaun Watson given the massive sexual misconduct scandal he’s involved in (the 26-year-old is facing over 20 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and sexual assault).
Mara would never go for it, even if Brian Flores earned the head coaching job and really did want to team up with the superstar Texans quarterback.
Not to mention, the Giants would need to give up an absurd number of draft picks (potentially at least three first-rounders) while also clearing cap room for Watson’s absurd (I’m too tired to think of another adjective) contract.
Don’t expect Deshaun to make his way to the Big Apple to don the blue and white uniform next season.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY