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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Dan Benton

‘Key people’ within Giants organization still believe in Daniel Jones

The New York Giants, mired in yet another ugly season, are poised to secure a top-5 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. And if things continue spiraling, it’s entirely possible they end up with the first overall selection next April.

In the minds of most, that means the Giants would be poised to select the top available quarterback and move on from Daniel Jones despite recently signing him to a four-year, $160 million deal.

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But it might be time to pump the brakes on that narrative.

Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports, who has been tapped into the Giants organization for the better part of 20 years, reports that some “key people” in the building still believe in Jones. In fact, they still think he’s the long-term answer.

According to multiple sources, including one inside the Giants, some key people in the organization still have faith in Jones and believe their 26-year-old franchise quarterback can still be their long-term answer.

In other words, even if they end up drafting 1 or 2, they might still pass on taking a replacement and choose to continue building around Jones instead.

The Giants have been a consistent presence at the games of top college quarterbacks this year, including general manager Joe Schoen, who has taken a personal look at USC’s Caleb Williams and others.

That may be nothing more than due diligence.

“There’s a long way to go (until the draft),” a team source told Vacchiano. “But I don’t think anyone has given up on him yet.”

That’s sure to anger Giants fans, who were ready to toss Jones out with the bath water as early as April 25, 2019. But they can find some solace in knowing that shot-callers within the organization haven’t ruled out drafting a quarterback, either.

That’s not to suggest they won’t replace Jones, even though the draft will come less than 14 months after the Giants gave him a four-year, $160 million contract with $81 million guaranteed. They might still do it. In fact, their intention, the team source said, is to prepare as if they will.

But they are a long way away from any final decision, and the source acknowledged it might be premature for them to completely give up on Jones after watching him in just six starts this season — including three without running back Saquon Barkley, four without left tackle Andrew Thomas, and behind a disastrous offensive line that got him sacked a ridiculous 30 times.

Jones has been put into unenviable situations since the moment he was drafted and that continued into 2023. And while he undeniably regressed from a stellar 2022 campaign, there’s no ignoring the personnel deficiencies that have plagued the Giants and their quarterbacks for more than a decade.

“It’s almost an unfair evaluation,” an NFC Scout who has watched the Giants this season told Vacchiano. “He was getting battered. He had no time to run an offense before the rush was in his face. He didn’t look good. I’m not excusing him. But he didn’t have much of a chance.

“And I think they know that.”

The Giants do know that — from the very top to the very bottom.

They do, the team source said. And they also know that thrusting a rookie quarterback into that situation, even if he’s given some time to learn behind Jones, likely wouldn’t change those results — at least not at first. And it might not change things all if either Williams or Maye — or whatever top quarterback the Giants fall in love with — doesn’t turn out to be a legitimate franchise quarterback.

This will immediately fire up speculation that co-owner John Mara is meddling or putting pressure on Schoen, but long-time voice of the Giants, Bob Papa, says that’s nothing more than an online narrative — something not even close to the truth.

Back in reality, Mara has refrained from intervening. He and Schoen obviously talk about and discuss decisions, but Mara leaves those final decisions up to his GM. And it was, after all, Schoen who declined Jones’ fifth-year option and later signed him to the aforementioned $160 million contract.

Jones may not have been drafted under the Schoen-Brian Daboll regime, but they’ve made it abundantly clear that he is their quarterback; he is their guy. And based on Vacchiano’s reporting, they’re not quite ready to give up on him yet.

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