The Giants are not good at many things these days, but they have mastered the art of saying the right things during the offseason. The talk always proves cheap when it matters, but it sure sounds good before then.
This brings us to Daniel Jones. The team’s braintrust — John Mara, Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll — has gone out of its way to pump up their quarterback the past few weeks. But as the Giants start their offseason program Monday, four weeks away from the NFL deadline to exercise fifth-year options on the 2019 first-round picks, Jones’ remains on the table.
There is no sign the Giants plan to pick it up, even with all the hosannas sent his way. Because even they must privately realize how this will likely end.
Forget how unwise it would be to guarantee roughly $22 million next year to an injury-prone quarterback who turns the ball over too much and has done little to distinguish himself in his first three seasons. Even if Jones is truly the franchise quarterback the Giants claim he is, and everything to date has primarily been the result of circumstances out of his control, what have they done this offseason to give him any better chance to succeed?
The offensive line is still shaky. Schoen deserves credit for doing what he could with limited resources to improve the offensive line in free agency, but let’s not act like he’s putting the Seven Blocks of Granite in front of Jones. The Giants added a handful of cheap veterans. There are no sure things. The unit will be better, but the bar is on the ground.
The supporting cast is still suspect. Jones has no tight end and none of his wide receivers can be trusted to stay on the field. Would you like to enter your make-or-break season throwing to Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Kadarius Toney? Even if Saquon Barkley stays healthy and produces at a Hand-of-God level, that alone likely does not move the needle.
Oh, and the defense is hemorrhaging talent. Schoen unceremoniously dumped Logan Ryan with no tactical benefit and James Bradberry will be traded any day now. The Giants will also miss Austin Johnson after he signed with the Chargers.
Even if Schoen has a tremendous draft and lands a handful of players who can immediately contribute, it’s hard to imagine the Giants will be much better than last season. Or that Jones will show enough to convince the team to move forward with him.
There are reasons to believe Jones can be a good starter, and this disastrous era of Giants football is certainly not all his fault. But it is what it is. If the team truly believes in him, it needs to put its money where its mouth is and pick up the option.
Absent that, the endgame seems predictable: The Giants flounder through another losing season while a robust C.J. Stroud-Bryce Young debate breaks out, preparations for the Tyrod Taylor bridge season begin and Jones plays out the string before trying to salvage his career elsewhere.
Mara said at Schoen’s introductory press conference that the Giants had done everything possible to screw Jones up. They certainly have screwed him as he enters this critical season. Jones may be capable, but it’s hard to envision the Giants will find out before they need to move on.