There may not be a fifth.
Everything is riding on this season for Jones after general manager Joe Schoen passed on his fifth-year option. He needs to have Josh Allen-esque improvement (and the Giants probably have to win games) for him to stick around in 2023. And he will be attempting this career revival with one hand tied behind his back.
ESPN ranked the Giants’ slate of offensive weapons at No. 30 in the 32-team NFL.
It’s not what you want.
Saquon Barkley has been limited by injuries to 627 middling rushing yards over the past two seasons and hasn’t looked like his rookie self since suffering a high right ankle sprain in 2019. Wideout Sterling Shepard tore his left Achilles last season, while deep threat Darius Slayton hasn’t built on a promising rookie campaign and was in and out of the lineup in 2021. Big-ticket free agent Kenny Golladay, who averaged more than 74 receiving yards per game for the Lions in 2019, had almost exactly half as many yards per game with the Giants last season.
Hope resides with 2021 first-rounder Kadarius Toney and 2022 second-rounder Wan’Dale Robinson, who unfortunately might play the same role in the lineup as undersized “gadget” wideouts. Toney’s résumé consists of a 10-catch, 189-yard game against the Cowboys; he failed to top 40 yards in a single game the rest of the way. New coach Brian Daboll got the most out of a variety of skill positions when he was the coordinator in Buffalo; he’ll have his work cut out for him in New York, where the names look bigger on paper.
While there is optimism from the fanbase regarding the Giants playmakers, the reality is each and every single one of them is problematic in some way.
Golladay is getting paid $18 million annually to be a shell of what he was in Detroit. Toney is an absolute wild card who can’t stay on the field. Shepard has been prone to injury his entire career, Slayton may not make the team, and Robinson is an unproven rookie.
There’s no confirming Barkley will return to his 2018 rookie-year form after suffering injuries each of the last three seasons. This includes a 2020 ACL tear that sidelined him for 14 games.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Jordan Akins, and rookie Daniel Bellinger could compete for the starting tight end role. But none are true No. 1 tight ends in this league (at least not right now).
Add all these points up and you start to realize just how overrated the slate of weapons is. Unless the group miraculously turns heads this fall, expect Jones’ on-field life to remain a challenging one.