Giants’ President Sends Mixed Messages About Daniel Jones and Draft Trade

Daniel Jones

Getty The New York Giants are sending mixed messages about Daniel Jones and trading up for a QB in the 2024 NFL draft.

John Mara still believes in Daniel Jones, but that won’t stop the New York Giants from trading up to select a quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft. Those two things appear at odds with one another, but Giants’ co-owner, president and CEO Mara is convinced keeping Jones and drafting a QB in Round 1 could work.

Mara outlined how when speaking to reporters at the league’s annual owners meeting on Monday, March 25. The 69-year-old revealed he won’t stop head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen from moving up from the sixth pick for the right passer, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan: “If they fall in love with the quarterback and believe it’s worth pick No. 6 or moving up, [I] certainly would support that.”

When asked how trading up for a new signal-caller would impact Jones, Mara was direct and to the point. He simply said, “let them both compete,” according to Raanan.

So the Giants are ready to move on from Jones, despite handing him a contract worth $160 million last offseason, right? Well, not so fast.

Mara didn’t make it sound like anybody is ready to quit on Jones, telling NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, “I think the Daniel (Jones) we saw in 2022 is the real deal. … I still have all the confidence in the world in him. … Yes, I think we all expect him to be the starter in 2024.”

So Jones has the full backing of the franchise. That is unless the Giants’ top decision-makers become enamoured with a leading QB1 in this year’s draft class.

Daniel Jones Faces Nervy Draft Day

Hearing the boss publicly back the idea of the Giants trading up for a quarterback should let Jones prepare for a nervy draft day. This year’s rookie crop is loaded with gifted passers, many of whom would be firmly within the Giants’ sights after the right trade.

Eligible quarterbacks like North Carolina’s Drake Maye, LSU Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels and Michigan star J.J. McCarthy could each be deemed worth a deal. Every member of the trio is considered able to start from day one in the pros.

That level of potential is what the Giants should trade for if Schoen and Daboll are prepared to deal. A complete skill-set is the only thing worth evaluating in a potential quarterback, where the margin for error is a lot smaller than at other positions.

It’s something Schoen explained to Dan Duggan of The Athletic: “The margin for error is — the fail factor is you are either a backup that bounces around or you’re out of the league.”

As Duggan put it, this answer helps explain why “if you’re going to take a QB early, go all-in and get the best one possible.”

That means Jones won’t be able to chill during the draft, content the Giants will only add to the depth chart behind him during the later rounds. Instead, the Giants appear primed to be key movers in any trade talks for the multiple starter-ready options available.

Normally, those talks would represent too big of a risk for a regime entering a pivotal third season, but Mara’s public consent has let Schoen and Daboll know they can make a splash move to find Jones’ successor.

John Mara Has Put All Options in Play for Giants

Jones enjoying a career year during a surprise playoff season in 2022 earned Schoen and Daboll plenty of goodwill. They had the currency to build the team exactly as they saw fit.

Unfortunately, what they saw fit to do was pay Jones ahead of marquee running back Saquon Barkley. The latter is no longer on the team, and Jones is lucky to still be around after injuries and turnovers wrecked his chances of justifying a bumper payday, leading to a 6-11 finish.

Those issues mean nobody would slam Daboll and Schoen for swinging for the fences for a potential franchise saviour at football’s most important position. For an example of what swinging for the fences might look like, The Athletic’s Ben Standig has the Minnesota Vikings parting with three first-round picks, along with the 108th selection this year to move up to No. 4.

That would be a hefty price for the Giants to pay, but Schoen and Daboll now know there’s enough support from above to back a trade.

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