Source: Giants won’t exercise option on Jones
1: 12 PM ET
Jordan RaananESPN Staff Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have elected to decline the fifth-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones‘ rookie contract, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. It would have guaranteed the team’s starting quarterback $22. 39 million next season.
The Giants did opt to pick up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the team announced. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft is now guaranteed $10.8 million for the 2023 season.
Jones, 24, was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft out of Duke. The Giants believe Jones can be their quarterback in the future, but he hasn’t shown it yet on the field. Jones has missed games because of injury each of his first three professional seasons and has thrown just 21 touchdown passes in the past two seasons combined.
Jones’ 24 touchdown passes as a rookie remains a career high. That made it easy to decide on the young quarterback. The Giants didn’t want to guarantee Jones more than $20 million before they saw him perform consistently at a level where there was no doubt that he was a franchise quarterback. Although they may have high hopes, it hasn’t happened in his first three seasons under three different offensive coaches.
General manager Joe Schoen mentioned the cautionary tale of the Carolina Panthers and Sam Darnold not long after he was hired. Darnold is guaranteed $18.9 million this season after the Panthers traded for him and picked up his fifth-year option before he ever played a game for the team. Carolina spent the offseason trying to find a quarterback upgrade and have Darnold on their books.
Cleveland, which ultimately landed Deshaun Watson, is in a similar position with Baker Mayfield, who also had his fifth-year option picked up last year. It’s not that the Giants have low expectations for Jones. But if he performs as they expect — under the new regime led by coach Brian Daboll — they can always use the franchise tag next year at around $30 million or sign Jones to a long-term deal. They don’t feel the obligation to make any commitments at the moment.
Jones will remain the Giants’ starter to begin this season, and the organization has high expectations despite signing veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year deal this offseason.
” We believe Daniel can play,” John Mara, co-owner, stated earlier this year. “We have done everything we can to screw this kid up since his arrival. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. That is a lot of my responsibility. Let’s get the right coaches in place now to give him continuity, rebuild the offensive line, and then make an intelligent assessment of whether he is the franchise quarterback. “
Mara said later in the offseason that you either have your quarterback or not, and he believed that the Giants had theirs. Taylor, who is being signed for $5.5million next year, could be a viable option as a bridge option in the event Jones doesn’t pan out.
Lawrence, 24, has been a three-year starter in the middle of the Giants’ defense. He had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.
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