The Giants’ biggest weakness could cripple them in 2024

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll (left) and quarterback Daniel Jones
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Giants had a reliable franchise quarterback, their 2024 season might conclude with a playoff appearance. However, there’s uncertainty around Daniel Jones’s contributions, especially after an ACL tear and his poor decision-making in limited games during 2023. He attempted only 160 passes, completing 67.5% for 909 yards, two touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Uncertainty Surrounding Daniel Jones’s Return

Despite improvements on the offensive line and the availability of better receivers, Jones has struggled to elevate the team over his five-year career. Even though he led the team to a playoff berth in 2022, he recorded just 3,642 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In 2022, a significant portion of Jones’s production came from the ground, where he rushed for 805 yards and seven scores. However, replicating these numbers after a major knee injury will be challenging and could complicate offensive strategies.

Daniel Jones of the Giants on the sidelines in the second half. The NY Giants host the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford
East Rutherford, NJ October 22, 2023 — Daniel Jones of the Giants on the sidelines in the second half. The NY Giants host the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on October 22, 2023. Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

Giants’ Offensive Adjustments and Contract Concerns

Jones must stand firm in the pocket and accurately deliver passes by progressing through his reads. This task has historically troubled the 26-year-old, as he often telegraphs his first read, allowing defensive backs to undercut or shut down his passes.

The Giants simplified their offense in 2022, but opponents quickly adapted, blitzing Jones and neutralizing his first reads. This forced him to move through his progressions, a process he struggled with previously. The Giants could face offensive inefficiency if he doesn’t make significant strides here.

Adding Malik Nabers to the offense could help shift their strategy toward a more pass-heavy attack. While losing Saquon Barkley will hurt, a decreased reliance on the running game aligns with the league’s passing trend, ultimately benefiting the Giants.

However, Jones’s contract raises challenging discussions. He’s set to have a $47.85 million cap hit this year and a $41.6 million cap hit next year. If the Giants opt out, they could save nearly $20 million, potentially up to $30 million by spreading the dead money over the remaining two years.

Yet, if Jones suffers another season-ending injury and fails his postseason physical, the Giants will be liable for his entire 2025 cap hit, an unsustainable situation. The team expects Jones to play in 2024 but should still consider keeping him inactive while giving Drew Lock a fair shot at the job.

Ultimately, the Giants can’t keep Jones on his current contract, as he’ll count for $58.6 million against the cap in 2026 unless extended—a decision that could prove unwise at this point.

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