Giants Franchise Leader Makes Major Claim About Daniel Jones’ Future

Daniel Jones

Getty A New York Giants' great made a major claim about Daniel Jones' future.

If the New York Giants don’t re-sign Daniel Jones, they’ll regret it, according to franchise all-time rushing leader Tiki Barber. The 47-year-old, who rushed for 10,449 yards during a decade with the Giants, predicts Jones will become the “best quarterback in the NFC East” if he’s still on the team for the 2023 NFL season.

Barber made the bold claim on the Tiki & Tierney show on WFAN Sports Radio: “Daniel Jones is in a situation right now with the Giants, Mike Kafka, and more importantly, Brian Daboll, where he is going to be coached into a top-10 quarterback.”

Barber’s confidence in the influence of head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka makes sense after what they achieved with Jones in 2022. Yet, quality coaching is also why the Giants could expect to quickly get another QB1 up to speed if they can’t bring free agent Jones back.

If he returns, he’ll need more pieces around him to make good on Barber’s words.

Daniel Jones Needs More Help to Dominate Division

Being the best signal-caller in the NFC East will mean outperforming Jalen Hurts. He’s got the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, but Barber believes Hurts’ dominance is defined by the talent around him: “I know that Jalen Hurts is a stud, I know that he’s amazing, got all these accolades, but he’s also got a lot around him.”

Barber’s right because Hurts gets to throw to a pair of terrific wide receivers, A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. He also has Dallas Goedert, who is more prolific than any tight end on the Giants’ roster.

Add in a powerful offensive line and a deep contingent of running backs headlined by Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell, and it’s little wonder Hurts has joined a small and select group of QBs who have been this prolific en route to a Super Bowl, per CBS Sports:

Jones has the raw physical skills to at least match what Hurts has achieved, according to Barber: “He’s 6-foot-5, he’s big, doesn’t have to move out of the pocket to see crossing routes, and throws and digs over the middle. He can stand right where he needs to stand and deliver every single throw. And if he needs to run, he’ll go run. He had 700 yards and seven touchdowns this year.”

Natural talent and shrewd coaching give Jones an excellent chance to own a division where Dak Prescott has become an interception machine for the Dallas Cowboys. Meanwhile, the Washington Commanders seem permanently stuck in the quarterback quagmire, with the latest idea to trust 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell with the reins.

Jones will surpass Hurts if the Giants get him a go-to wide receiver, a clutch tight end and a mauler along the interior of the offensive line. He also needs the Giants to find a way to retain his fellow free agent, star running back Saquon Barkley.

It’s an extensive and expensive to-do list that could leave the Giants short in their attempts to retain Jones. If so, Daboll at least has a track record of making it work with raw but gifted quarterbacks.

Giants Can Make Same Magic Work for Another Quarterback

Keeping Jones will be achieved either by handing him a long-term contract or using the franchise tag. The latter option will cost $32,415,000, a hefty chunk when the Giants also need to resolve Barkley’s future.

A lengthy contract isn’t necessarily cheaper. Not when Jones can expect to “command at least $30 million annually,” according to an agent who spoke with Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo.

Jones is in line for a bumper payday because of his career-best 2022 season. He threw for 3,205 yards, 6.8 yards per attempt and posted a 92.5 rating.

Those numbers owed a lot to how Daboll and Kafka designed an offense suited to Jones’ particular skills. As Barber noted, Daboll featured Josh Allen’s rushing ability while the refining his game as a passer as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

Jones did the same things this season, rushing for 708 yards and seven touchdowns, two more career-high marks. Daboll and Kafka made designed QB runs a feature of the playbook to take full advantage of Jones’ mobility, like for this 18-yard touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17:

Giants’ coaches also used simple and effective route combinations to create easier throwing windows and more big plays. A great example occurred against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, when Jones connected with Richie James on a post-wheel concept highlighted by Nick Falato of SB Nation’s Big Blue View:

Daboll and Kafka, Patrick Mahomes’ position coach with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021, know the formula for helping quarterbacks succeed. They could apply the same blueprint to a free agent like Jimmy Garoppolo or Geno Smith. The Giants also have the right framework to help a raw rookie like Florida’s Anthony Richardson thrive at the pro level.

Garoppolo, Smith and Richardson represent contingency plans if an agreement can’t be reached with Jones. Keeping him is still the obvious way for the Giants to stay strong at football’s most important position.

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