Darius Slayton has seen the ratings for “Madden NFL 24,” and he isn’t happy. Specifically, the New York Giants’ wide receiver took issue with the rating given to his quarterback, Daniel Jones.
Slayton took to Twitter to call out the game makers for how they’ve graded Jones: “Lol Daniel Jones a 75….count your days Madden developers I will find you and you will answer for your sins against humanity.”
The relatively lowly score placed Jones outside the top 10 among quarterbacks. In fact, he didn’t even make the top 20, despite coming off a breakout season in 2022, instead settling for 25th, per the EA Sports official site.
Slayton’s reaction can be split into two parts. First, his words speak to the idea Jones is still not respected as a credible signal-caller by many observers. Second, there’s a sense Jones can confound expectations and prove the doubters wrong.
The Giants backed that belief by paying Jones $160-million over four years earlier this offseason. General manager Joe Schoen also went to great lengths to restock the supporting cast around Jones, even at the expense of agreeing a new long-term contract with two-time Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley.
Giants Have Gone All In on Daniel Jones Over Saquon Barkley
The Madden raters may not believe in Jones, but Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have faith. Their confidence in No. 8 is reflected by adding wide receivers Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder in free agency, as well as trading for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller.
Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo thinks Waller is “the most reliable pass-catcher, in what might be the most balanced receiving corps of Jones’ career.” The greater balance among Jones’ targets also comes from Schoen drafting Jalin Hyatt in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft, as well as adding former Buffalo Bills’ pass-catcher and Daboll favorite Cole Beasley.
Those moves, along with re-signing Slayton and his fellow wideouts Isaiah Hodgins and Sterling Shepard, represent a significant investment in Jones. Said investment prevented the Giants from also paying Barkley, beyond applying the franchise tag at a cost of $10.091 million. Barkley hasn’t signed the tag and has thought about his options, including a holdout.
The Giants have taken a major risk with arguably their most gifted player, but NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell told the “Ross Tucker Football Podcast,” the franchise simply “made a decision that the more important player, as they go forward with his coaching staff and where they want to get to, is Daniel Jones.”
The decision will define the Giants’ season. If Jones delivers, Schoen and Daboll will be applauded, while the QB1’s rating will look a whole better in time for Madden NFL 25.
Yet, the only way either of those things happens is if Jones improves in one key area.
Daniel Jones Can Change Rating With 1 Improvement
Jones won’t take the next step unless he gets better at attacking defenses vertically. The Giants’ passing game couldn’t go deep last season, mustering a league-low 28 completions of 20-plus yards.
Part of the problem was how few times Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka asked Jones to stretch the field. He attempted a mere 26 attempts of 20-plus yards, according to Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson, who expects “those attempts to increase BIG” this season.
Daboll and Kafka should feel confident about expanding the playbook when they have two legitimate deep threats in the fold. Hyatt was a feared burner at Tennessee who posted a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine.
Meanwhile, Slayton’s a speedster who actually outpaced Miami Dolphins’ receiver Tyreek Hill, the NFL’s premier deep threat, in yards per target last season. Slayton, Hyatt and 6-foot-6 Waller will be key to improving Jones’ vertical game.
If Jones takes that step, he’ll answer his critics.