The New York Giants are all-in on QB Daniel Jones … this year. That’s the reasonable interpretation of general manager Dave Gettleman’s first news conference in months.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman sold on QB Daniel Jones?
In a span of just a few minutes, Gettleman said two seemingly contradictory things.
“We believe in Daniel.”
And then …
“I think we’ll have a pretty good idea [of what the franchise has in Jones] when the season’s over.”
Dave Gettleman expresses confidence in Daniel Jones:
“We believe in Daniel, we’re excited to see what he’s going to do in the second year in the system” pic.twitter.com/KWIb00ETzK
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) August 17, 2021
Credit Gettleman for honesty. Anyone who says they know with complete certainty that Jones is a lock to start in Gotham for the next decade is being disingenuous.
Are the Giants already targeting the 2022 QB class?
There have been flashes of excellence. But Jones also has a career 62.2% completion percentage, 84.1 passer rating, and has averaged 6.6 yards per attempt in both of his first two seasons.
That stat line alone would raise some questions.
But throw in the Giants’ decision to trade with the Bears and slide from 11th to 20th in the 2021 NFL Draft — acquiring another first-round pick in 2022 in the process — and there is a sense that New York is hedging its bets on Danny Dimes.
The Giants now have plenty of assets to position themselves to take another first-round quarterback next April if Jones doesn’t perform.
Gettleman, however, dismissed that theory during Tuesday’s Q&A:
“Not even a thought. The trade was made because the opportunity was there. It was an opportunity to create a lot of value. We really liked the position we were in. So no, it was not done as any kind of hedge. We believe in Daniel [Jones] and we’re excited to see what he’s going to do, second year in the system. Like we said, last year was his third system in three years. This will be his second year in the system.
“You know how diligent the kid is. We talk about it all the time. He works just as hard off the field that he does on the field. He’s more comfortable, he’s more prepared. It’ll be fun to see what happens when we finally get the full complement of players out there.”
The Giants have the necessary weapons
He’s not kidding about the Giants’ stockpile of offensive weapons. Saquon Barkley is on the road to recovery. The G-Men signed a potential No. 1 receiver in Kenny Golladay and drafted another in Kadarius Toney this offseason. They also added two-time Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph. This is the most talented group of Giants skill position players in recent memory.
All they need now is Jones to efficiently distribute the football to them. If he doesn’t, expect the Giants to pivot to Plan B in 2022. But a bigger question: Will ownership allow Gettleman to still be in a position to make that call?
“We’re all on the hot seat,” Giants owner John Mara said when asked about Gettleman’s job security beyond this season. “I expect to win more games than we did last year. Hopefully, we’ll be a playoff team.”
Update on Saquon Barkley’s return to the field
The Giants’ medical staff “feel good” about Barkley’s rehab from a torn ACL, Mara said. But the franchise is determined to play it safe with the former No. 2 overall pick. The Giants will likely keep him out of live drills during this week’s joint practices with the Browns.
The injury added another level of scrutiny to Gettleman’s decision to take a running back that high — particularly when Josh Allen was still on the board.
“Stuff happens,” Gettleman said. “Not everything’s perfect. There are guys all over this league that get hurt, and big-time players. He’s done a great job rehabbing. I feel the same way about him — he’s different. He’s going to be ready to go when he’s ready to go.”