The Giants could draft a quarterback despite Daniel Jones’s massive contract

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen looks on during day two of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility

The New York Giants‘ 2023 season has been less than ideal, sparking discussions about potentially drafting another quarterback. If they find themselves within striking distance of USC’s Caleb Williams, a touted prodigy, the hefty contract of current QB Daniel Jones should not deter them from securing such an asset.

There’s chatter about UNC’s Drake Maye being a viable option. However, Williams is one talent that’s hard to ignore. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: Would Jones’s deal hinder the Giants from drafting a new quarterback in the upcoming season?

The Financials of Daniel Jones

Jones recently penned a four-year, $160 million contract, guaranteeing $92 million. For this year, he comes with a cap hit of $15.43 million and a staggering dead cap hit of $81.5 million. But in the subsequent season, his pay swells to $47.1 million with a $69.3 million cap hit. Hypothetically, if the Giants were to usher in a new quarterback, this would be the time for a competition to ensue.

In an ideal scenario, a rookie quarterback would spend a year soaking up the system, challenging Jones for the lead role. By 2025, the Giants could consider parting ways with Jones, which might also be financially prudent.

Here’s the breakdown: Post-2024, the Giants have an option to exit the deal, incurring a dead money charge of $22.2 million. Now, let’s factor in the second-year salary of a top draft pick, which is roughly $8.6 million. In this scenario, the quarterback position would cost around $30 million with Jones no longer in the picture. Keeping Jones would mean a $41.6 million dent against the cap—a net loss of $11.6 million compared to the rookie quarterback setup — the Giants stand to gain that amount if Jones is released.

Giants’ Offensive Line Woes

The present offensive line has been a glaring issue, often failing to give Jones the time and protection he needs. Introducing a fresh quarterback on a rookie contract might just be the change the Giants need. This model—embracing a young quarterback talent—has worked for several franchises in the past.

Williams boasts the prowess and adaptability to shift a team’s dynamics entirely. Jones, although skilled, sometimes displays an automated response, especially under pressure. His recurring errors, especially when the protective line disintegrates, are concerning. It’s essential to note that the blame doesn’t squarely rest on Jones—his O-line hasn’t done him any favors. However, his recurrent errors, even in the face of adversity, question his viability as the team’s quarterback cornerstone.

The Path Ahead

Should the Giants be presented with the opportunity to draft a standout quarterback with immense potential, Jones’s contract shouldn’t obstruct their path. With Andrew Thomas making a comeback, John Michael-Schmitz entering his sophomore year, and Ben Bredeson at left guard, not to mention the anticipated growth of multiple players and potential new additions in 2024, a rookie quarterback would be in a promising position—assuming no injuries occur.

Regrettably, Jones was handed a less-than-perfect setup, with subpar pass protection hindering his growth. His persistent underwhelming performances, combined with the mounting pressure from the Giants’ fanbase and their potential top-five draft pick next year, paint a picture of a challenging season ahead.

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