As New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones enters his fourth year in the NFL, all eyes are focused on his future. After the new front office chose to not pick up his fifth-year option, the former sixth overall pick could be playing his final season with the Giants.
This team could look drastically different a year from now. A future not including Jones could be a legitimate possibility, especially if he struggles this season. As the team will have among the most cap space in the NFL, and could potentially have another top draft pick, Jones could find himself on the outs.
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In a June 30 article, Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton took a shot at predicting what could happen to several young quarterbacks as they enter “prove-it years,” including the Giants’ signal-caller.
Wharton noted that the front office didn’t pick up Jones’ option. “That indicates they feel Jones is more on the level of Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Both the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers would surely take a do-over in regard to exercising those options, with both players having little trade value at their current salaries,” Wharton wrote.
“Even if he finally benefits from a healthy surrounding cast in 2022 and Daboll’s scheme maximizes his skill set, the Giants should have ample cap space and possibly a high draft pick to replace him. The new regime would likely rather take its own quarterback than spend to keep Jones.”
Since entering the NFL in 2019, Jones has shown flashes of how good he can be. But he has also struggled to stay on the field and has been plagued by an array of consistent mistakes.
Jones has thrown for 45 touchdowns and 8,398 yards in his career. He’s added another 5 touchdowns and 1,000 yards rushing on the ground. But he has also accounted for 28 lost fumbles and 29 interceptions.
Statistically, his best season came during his rookie year in 2019. And he has yet to show much of the progress that many around the league thought he would. But it is also worth noting that he has suffered from a complete lack of stability within the organization.
Between changes in the front office, a new head coach every season and a struggling offense, he hasn’t been given the best chance to succeed. But the Giants have now assembled a legitimate roster that should be competitive. They have also brought in a coaching staff consisting of some of the best names on the market. There will be little to no excuses for Jones and the offense as a whole this season.
Jones Compared to Baker Mayfield
Wharton argued that Jones could be viewed in a similar light to former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. The former-Cleveland Browns quarterback was acquired by the Carolina Panthers in an early July trade. Mayfield spent the last four years in Cleveland, serving as their QB1. Until last season, it was nearly set in stone that he would be the quarterback of the future. After the team decided to make a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Mayfield found himself up for grabs.
Unlike Jones and the Giants, the Browns elected to pick up Mayfield’s fifth-year option a year ago. But even after doing so, the team decided to move on.
Mayfield, the former Heisman winner, has had his fair share of ups and downs since entering the league in 2018. He has started 59 games for the Browns while accumulating a record of 29-30. During this time, he has thrown for 92 touchdowns, 14,125 yards and 56 interceptions.
Jones Compared to Sam Darnold
Up to this point in both of their careers, Jones and Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold have had similar performances on the field. They have both struggled with not turning the ball, not being healthy and underperforming in comparison to how many thought they would.
After being selected by the New York Jets with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Darnold spent three years as their QB1. Even after picking up his fifth-year option, the Jets chose to send Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. In his lone season with the team, many of the problems he struggled with in New York still lingered.
Since entering the NFL in 2018, Darnold has thrown for 54 touchdowns and 10,624 yards. He has also been effective on the ground, rushing for 639 yards and 10 touchdowns on 162 attempts. But he has also severely struggled with turnovers. Over this time, he has thrown 52 interceptions and lost 21 fumbles.
As he enters year two with the Panthers, his future is still up in the air. Much like with Jones and Mayfield, he finds himself in an interesting spot with his current team.