As a rule, even the most optimistic Monday morning quarterback doesn’t spend the day after a No. 26 loss lobbying for a new contract for the loser under center. Daniel Jones got on the wrong side of Jalen Hurts and the high-flying Eagles, and the Giants staggered out of MetLife Stadium in desperate need of a restart.
But even with his team out of sorts around him, Jones was able to do what he’s done in most of what has been heralded as a make-or-break year on Sunday. He played the ball without turnovers, threw for touchdowns, ran for touchdowns and handled himself under relentless pressure in search of playmakers who weren’t used to making many plays.
Jones’ bosses like to say he’s done everything asked of him, a compliment that falls a few yards short of full approval. In the spring, the Giants declined his $22.4 million fifth-year pick because new general manager Joe Shoen and new head coach Brian Daboll weren’t sure what they were getting from Duke in the first round in 2019 and didn’t want to make an unnecessary investment. reached. unknown.
In response, Jones made all 13 starts, showing he can stay healthy, cut down on his sacks and interceptions and lead a team without any good receivers to the playoffs. Despite the Giants’ recent slide, Jones’ record (7-5-1), completion percentage (66.0), interception percentage (1.1), quarterback rating (91.6) and rushing total (548 yards, 5 touchdowns) are all career bests.
He ranks 14th in ESPN’s QBR, behind the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Although most teams and fans don’t want their starters to finish 14th in anything, Jones has developed into a very good NFL quarterback in his 4th year.
With a setback in those last four games, starting Sunday night against Washington, Jones has earned the right to return next year via the franchise tag, the carry tag. If that team and player receive at least $31.5 million (franchise cap, per Overthecap.com) or roughly $28 million (transition) for one season before parting ways or entering into a long-term relationship if it means , so be it. There are worse players at every level of the organization to be overpaid for a year than Daniel Jones, whose professionalism and work ethic are recognized.
Remember what Giants co-owner John Mara said about a franchise that has “done everything they could to screw this kid up since he’s been here” with various head coaches, coordinators, position coaches and systems. Jones emerged from that wreckage as a defender with his right side. With Jones coached and cap space on the team, it would be a shame to let him go, especially since Mara told The Post last year that he envisions his quarterback as a future Super Bowl winner. for what he said.
“I can say that without hesitation,” said the co-creator.
Admittedly, there should be some hesitation in imagining Jones hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over his head. It’s just that he hasn’t achieved enough success for that image to come naturally to any fan’s mind.
But what if he had the weapons of Jalen Hurts? So what if it has Mike White’s guns? Would the picture be much clearer then?
Jones had to throw the ball to Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson this year. Injuries and/or lack of performance have taken all of them off the board, leaving Darius Slayton, a good, fill-in player, as the primary option. Unfortunately, the Giants don’t have a wide receiver in the top 70 in the league in total catches.
That needs to change through free agency and the draft. Meanwhile, the Giants’ final eight or nine wins would deprive them of the opportunity to select one of college’s elite quarterbacks in April, meaning Jones’ potential replacement would come from among the veteran candidates available.
Forget Brady and Rodgers, because both will leave their current teams just to win. Garoppolo has a leg injury, maybe. Same with Baker Mayfield and a bunch of other guys.
Jones may never be a top-five quarterback, and he may never be as opportunistic as two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. But given his improvement, athleticism, and how much that athleticism will be worth when the new receiver park makes room for him, Jones looks like the Giants’ best option for 2023.
“I think he is [done] It’s been a really good job since we got here,” Daboll said Monday. “In the pocket, taking care of the football, making the right decisions.”
While he may not inspire rave reviews, Daniel Jones inspires confidence that he can become a consistent winner with the right Giants around him. If nothing else, he earned the right to keep his job for another year.