Whoever said “It’s nice to have options” wasn’t talking about an NFL team’s quarterback situation.
In other aspects of life, sure. When it comes to the most important position in sports, certainty is the way to go. And the Giants don’t have it.
Daniel Jones’ season-ending neck injury method the quarterback situation is a mess. Head coach Joe estimate gave Jones, 24, a cursory vote of confidence as the starter for 2022, but there’s been no official information however estimate will be retained. And general manager Dave Gettleman is expected to be replaced, which could chart a new organizational course for all evaluations, including that of Jones and his 12-25 career record.
Here is a closer look at the pros and cons to the four routes the Giants can take at quarterback in 2022:
1. Stick with Jones
Do it: The Giants say Jones’ sprained neck should not threaten his availability next season. He showed potential as a rookie, so it’s thoroughly possible the two-year regression can be blamed on Jason Garrett’s ill-fitted conservative scheme and Gettleman’s failures to build a competent offensive line. Jones’ $8.3 million cap charge ranks a reasonable No. 24 among quarterbacks for 2022, according to spotrac.com. His strengths are mobility and throwing downfield — two important boxes to check in today’s NFL. Teammates and coaches love his work ethic, and the New York spotlight doesn’t faze him.
Don’t do it: Few quarterbacks (Ryan Tannehill?) jump from average to stardom after three years starting. So far, Jones either plays aggressively without attention to turnovers or overemphasizes ball security at the expense of playmaking. Jones will have missed 10 starts in three years due to injuries suffered as a runner, but taking away that skill makes him a lesser player. The Giants must decide whether to guarantee Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023 (at $21.4 million) by May. Doing so is a huge gamble. If his play in 2022 warrants a big salary, the Giants have an exclusive window to give him a long-term deal before free agency. That one-year option salary would get torn up if he has a major breakthrough, anyway.
2. Trade for disgruntled Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Do it: Of the 55 Super Bowls, 43 have been won by either 15 quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame or six others almost certain to join them when eligible, including Wilson. One school of thought says get a surefire franchise quarterback however possible because the draft is a crapshoot and veterans rarely become obtainable. Worry about the rest later. One of the perks to owning two top-10 draft picks is the capital to make a blockbuster trade. Wilson would consider waiving a no-trade clause to come with his pop-star wife Ciara to New York, The Post confirmed.
Don’t do it: The Seahawks have leverage to ask for a king’s ransom because Wilson is under contract for two more years. The more draft picks traded — both first-rounders and then some is the likely package — the harder it is to build a winner around Wilson. If he is fed up with the Seahawks’ inability to assemble a functional offensive line, as reported, what is he going to think of the Giants’ failures to do so over a decade? The Giants are projected to have about $4 million in cap space in 2022 and Wilson’s contract comes with a $24 million cap charge, meaning cuts and restructures that further limit improving the list to win-now mode.
3. Draft a top-10 quarterback
Do it: As four of the last nine Super Bowl winners can give evidence to, one of the biggest salary-cap advantages is a quarterback on a four-year rookie contract. The Giants squandered three years of flexibility with Jones and nevertheless wound up in cap hell, so restarting the clock (like the Jets did swapping in Zach Wilson for Sam Darnold) provides relief. Especially if the new general manager wants “his” quarterback to develop. Using the Darnold barometer, the Giants could trade Jones for a associate mid-round draft picks to build a better offensive line for Jones’ successor than he ever had.
Don’t do it: Early indications from scouts is this is not a great quarterback class, led by Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Mississippi’s Matt Corral and Liberty’s Malik Willis. Reaching at pick No. 6 in 2019 is how the Giants got in this mess, when Justin Herbert went back to school and they fell “in complete-bloom love” with Jones as other teams had him graded much lower in the first round. The quarterback-needy Texans and Lions have worse records, so the Giants’ top-ranked college passer might not already be obtainable unless they packaged two picks together to trade up the board. The 2023 draft class is led by “can’t-miss” prospect Bryce Young.
4. Sign a one-year stopgap
Do it: Two ways to go here: Replace Jones or bring in a true threat and open up a competition. Free agents who fit the mold include Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Foles, Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota. That list includes 416 career starts and a path to respectability — not a championship — after five straight double-digit loss seasons. Foles’ career bottomed out after winning Super Bowl LII MVP. Mariota’s style is most similar to Jones, if the Giants wanted to keep both players, design an interchangeable offense and let the best win the job in training camp. If Jimmy Garoppolo is a cap-casualty cut by the 49ers, given his shared Patriots’ ties with estimate, he is the best stopgap.
Don’t do it: It just delays the unavoidable for a franchise already out of good will with its fans. Is the goal to finish 9-8 or to win a Super Bowl? If the Giants are not going to draft young or trade for greatness, letting the investment in Jones run its course at the minimum has a possible long-term payoff. Washington went down this road the last two years and was rewarded by winning a historically bad division in 2020. But the Cowboys now rule the NFC East and Washington is stuck between not bad enough to draft at the top and not good enough to compete. Not for the Giants to duplicate.
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