Since the inception of Joe Schoen as General Manager and Brian Daboll as Head Coach, there has been more hope than the over-confidence expressed that Daniel Jones will be the franchise quarterback going forward. That hope still stands, but long-term commitments aren’t based on hope, which is why the Giants declined to pick Jones’ fifth-year option.
This option would have secured Jones $22.4 million for the 2023 season, which is by no means exotic money for a quality player champion. It remains to be seen if Jones fits that description, even after his three years with the team. The Giants will allow Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, to play his rookie contract and then make a decision about his future with the team.
“People are realizing it’s by far the most important position in sport and either you have one or you don’t,” co-owner Jon Mara told The Post late last month. “We think we have one.”
But the giants don’t know if they have one.
There is no risk that the giants will not pick the option. If he enjoys a successful 2022 season, the giants could apply their franchise tag to him for around $30 million. If this scenario does happen, it is very likely that the Giants and Jones will reach an agreement on a long-term deal and that the mark will not have to be used.
“We’ll see what happens this year but we have great confidence in him,” Mara said. “I know Daboll and Joe love it. He has all the right tools, he has the right makeup, he’s working on it, and the players are responding to him so you want him to be successful.”
As for his second contract with the Giants, Mara said, “That’s definitely our hope. I would say yes, I could have seen it happen but obviously he’s going to have to prove it this year and he knows it. But he also knows how much we trust him.”
Most surprising was the case of defensive tackle, Dexter Lawrence, No. 17 in 2019, a pick obtained from Brown in the Odell Beckham Jr deal. The Giants will pick Lawrence’s option for a fifth year, guaranteeing him $10.7 million for the 2023 season – certainly not too pricey for a high-quality player.
That’s a clear indication, and Wink Martindale, the new defensive coordinator, views Lawence as an integral part of the puzzle up front. Lawrence, 24, has only missed one game in his three-year career. He’s only had nine sacks in his 48 games, but he has the potential to push a pocket, as he under pressure quarterback only four times in 2021 than Leonard Williams. At 342 pounds, Lawrence takes up plenty of room as a fast defender.
Jones, 24, missed the last six games last season with a neck injury but has made a full recovery. He compiled a best pass rating (87.7) in his rookie year and has had 45 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions in his career. He also lost 28 passes, although ball security has greatly improved. Jones is 12-25 as a starter for the NFL.
Usually, a quarterback doesn’t initially head into the final year of his contract, if the team has any strong intentions to keep him. The new system, including Daboll – who helped shape Josh Allen to become a star with the Bills – will do what he can to fortify the roster around Jones to give him as much help as possible to prove he can be the winning quarterback. There are no confirmations, though, that this partnership will continue beyond this season.