Giants’ Free Agency Decision Will Determine QB Draft Plan: Insider

The Giants' free agency spending at QB should determine NFL draft plan.

Getty Will the New York Giants and head coach Brian Daboll pursue a top backup quarterback in free agency?

Free agency often hints at what a team might do in the NFL draft — and that’s expected to be the case for the New York Giants at the quarterback position.

“What they do in free agency will tell you how confident [general manager Joe] Schoen is that drafting a quarterback is an option,” SNY insider Connor Hughes told the fanbase during a Giants mailbag article on February 16.

Explaining: “If Schoen signs someone like Gardner Minshew or Jacoby Brissett to a contract worth north of $6 or $7 million annually — that’s telling you the Giants don’t believe they’re getting someone [in round one of the draft].”

“Schoen, evident by the [Saquon] Barkley talks, is financially savvy [and] constantly cognizant of the salary cap,” Hughes went on. “He already has major money invested in [Daniel] Jones (for this year). Now he’s going to give big money to a backup and draft a quarterback in the first round? Then carry all three on the 53-man roster?”

The insider concluded that he “highly doubts” that will happen.

With that in mind, Hughes ended the response with a prediction. “What I think you’ll see the Giants do is sign a lower-level veteran, setting the stage for a significant investment in draft capital,” he said, estimating that Big Blue will balk at the top backup QBs like Minshew and Brissett.

Giants Might Have to Trade Up to Get Top-3 QB Prospect in 2024

By most assertions, there is a clear top three in this year’s QB draft class: USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

In the past, Hughes has already noted that he doesn’t expect NYG to land any of those three without trading up — and that feels unlikely too given that the top three teams in the draft order all need a new quarterback. The SNY reporter reiterated that again while discussing Daniels on February 16.

“I don’t think the Giants would [pass on Daniels at No. 6 overall],” Hughes replied to a fan. “They’ve all but screamed from the tops of 1925 Giants Drive they’re open to drafting a quarterback. Their only concern is if one will be there.”

“Conventional wisdom tells you the Giants need to acquire one of those [top three] picks if they want a quarterback, but it’s unclear if any of those teams are A) willing to deal, or B) willing to pass on a QB,” he outlined once again.

However, this time, Hughes added that the Giants probably won’t get Daniels — or Maye and Williams — at No. 6 either, let’s say one slips out of the top three.

“This isn’t about the [Arizona] Cardinals (No. 4) or [Los Angeles] Chargers (No. 5) drafting him, but a team behind the Giants like the [Tennessee] Titans (No. 7), [Atlanta] Falcons (No. 8), [Minnesota] Vikings (No. 11), [Denver] Broncos (No. 12) or [Las Vegas] Raiders (No. 13) trading up with Arizona or L.A. to jump the Giants for that player,” Hughes voiced candidly.

That means Schoen might have to trade up to four or five just to draft someone like Daniels, even if he were to fall out of the top three. And that could mean sacrificing one of the two 2024 second-round picks.

Giants Writer Looks at Gardner Minshew as Free Agent Fit for Big Blue

Circling back to the veteran quarterback route, Minshew is the type of borderline starter that could compete with Jones for the job in 2024 — or begin the season as the QB1 if Jones is still recovering from his torn ACL.

Empire Sports Media founder Alexander Wilson scouted Minshew as an option for the Giants on February 15.

“The next option on the docket is 28-year-old Gardner Minshew, a former sixth-round pick who spent all of last season with the Indianapolis Colts,” Wilson began. “Minshew took over right off the bat when first-round pick Anthony Richardson suffered a season-ending injury.”

“Minshew finished the season with 3,305 passing yards, including 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions,” the analyst continued. “He recorded a 62.2% completion rate and a 3.8% turnover-worthy play rate, according to PFF. He was sacked 34 times and recorded a 74.2% adjusted completion rate.”

In the end, Wilson appeared to like Minshew as a backup QB option because of his experience, reasoning that “[experience] goes a long way toward commanding a huddle and understanding how to operate throughout the course of a game.”