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Should The Giants Move On From Daniel Jones?

The big question that hangs over the Giants and their immediate future is the question that Giants fans have been asking one another for months.

2019 draft pick Daniel Jones is 12-25 as a starting quarterback and is coming off a neck injury that kept him out of the team for the last six games of the recently completed season. The Giants finished with a terrible 4-13 record that equaled that of the woeful Jets and surpassed only the Jaguars and the Lions.

Given that there will be more bets placed on NY football teams than ever before this year, thanks to the legalization of sports betting in the state, this would be a good time for a Giants revival. But is Daniel Jones the right man to lead it?

The Case Against

It isn’t that hard to make the case against Daniel Jones as the man to lead the franchise. His lack of progress is stark compared to those who were picked the year before him in the draft. Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield have all excelled or at least forced their way into the leading group of NFL quarterbacks, and Kyler Murray, picked first in 2019, has outstripped Jones by a distance.

If anything, Jones seems to be regressing in some areas. In his first season in the league, his touchdown to interceptions count was 24-12. But over the last two seasons it has dropped to 21-17. Across almost all metrics, from yards per game to game-winning drives, Jones is ranked outside the top 20 among all quarterbacks, even allowing for his injury absence.

And he was still making rookie mistakes in his third year. The interception he threw against Kansas in Week 8 was a glaring example, but there have been others. With his rookie contract coming to an end in 2023, the new management team of GM Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll face a tough decision, but if they want to move on from Daniel Jones, there is plenty of evidence to support them.

The Case For

Though his overall numbers have been bad, it wouldn’t be fair to say that Jones has had no good moments. There have been occasions when he has shown glimpses of top-tier talent, such as the impressive 30-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram in Week 9 against the Raiders.

And while he hasn’t progressed as obviously as some of his peers, Jones has not benefitted from the same level of stability. Allen, Mayfield, and Jackson have all had consistent coaching set-ups and have had the team’s gameplans tweaked to suit their styles, allowing them to build up their confidence and to ease into life as a top-tier quarterback.

Jones has not had that luxury. He’s had to learn the hard way in a losing team that has lurched from disaster to disappointment over three seasons. Now he faces another new coaching set-up. Three years isn’t too long to give him in those circumstances, and throwing away the work that has already gone into making Jones into the player the Giants want him to be could look shortsighted in a year or two.

Kicking the Can

There is a third option for Daboll and Schoen, and it’s probably the most logical choice. Jones still has a year to run on his rookie contract and there are no readymade replacements available. Nor are the Giants likely to be in a position to bring in a franchise-transforming quarterback. They could gamble in the draft, but given that they are still working through the consequences of their last draft quarterback gamble, that doesn’t look like a sensible way to go.

In the circumstances, they could argue that it would be reasonable to give Jones another season. Perhaps he will find the Daboll approach more to his liking. Perhaps their other acquisitions may provide him with the protection and the weapons that he needs to start to fulfill his potential.

Still, if Jones is given another chance, he will know that this is likely to be a make-or-break season. At the end of the 2022 season, the Giants will have to make a choice on whether to exercise their $22 million option on their current starting quarterback. The extra year will also give them plenty of time to look for alternative options.

Right now, Jones’ chances of still being a Giant through 2023 look relatively slim. If that motivation propels him to new heights next season, Giants fans will be delighted.

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