Tagged in: joe schoen

New York Giants won’t exercise fifth-year option on QB Daniel Jones

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 revealed. 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. But while the Giants still think he can be their quarterback into the future, he hasn’t yet shown it consistently on the field. Jones has missed matches 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 the decision on the young quarterback rather obvious. 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. They might have high hopes, but it hasn’t happened in the first three seasons playing under three different offensive coordinators.

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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. Meanwhile, Carolina spent this offseason trying to land an upgrade at quarterback and are stuck with Darnold on their books.

Cleveland, which ultimately landed Deshaun Watson, is in an alike position with Baker Mayfield, who also had his fifth-year option picked up last year.

It’s not that the Giants don’t have confidence and high hopes for Jones; they do. 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 need to make any commitments at this point.

Jones will remain the Giants’ starter to start this season, and the organization has high expectations despite signing veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year deal this offseason.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” co-owner John Mara said earlier this year. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.”

Mara added later this offseason that either you have your quarterback or you don’t, and he considered the Giants had theirs. In the meantime, Taylor is signed for $5.5 million next year and could potentially serve as a relatively inexpensive bridge option should Jones not 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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New York Giants, QB Daniel Jones say neck injury no longer a concern

The New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones feel pretty good about his health. They don’t seem to have any doubts about his neck injury despite it costing him the final six matches of last season.

“Yeah, I’ll be cleared and ready to go,” Jones said Monday during a conference call on the first day of the offseason workout program.

The team and quarterback have been steadfast about their belief that the neck injury Jones suffered late last year would not be a long-term problem. A source said that Jones was actually close to returning before the end of the season back in early January.

But the Giants have time now, and new coach Brian Daboll stated last week that Jones should be “ready to go” for the offseason program. Jones was there Monday for the first day after spending the weekend cheering on his brother Bates, who was on the Duke men’s basketball team that reached the Final Four.

Phase I of the offseason program is mostly strength and conditioning. Jones won’t need to face any contact until the preseason in August, so there isn’t any real necessity for him to be cleared for contact now or anytime soon.

He’s been training locally and at the team facility without any limitations for much of the offseason. Jones is preparing to be the team’s starting quarterback again this upcoming season, even with a new general manager and coach in place.

New York also signed veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year contract last month.

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The Giants have continued to reiterate their confidence in Jones throughout the offseason.

He was declared the unequivocal starter by the team’s brass last week at the NFL’s annual meetings. This came not long after owner John Mara said the organization had “done everything we can to screw this kid up since he’s been here” earlier this offseason.

It’s something that even caught Jones’ attention.

“I’m excited. I’m excited to get going here. I appreciate the support,” he said. “But it’s my job to do my role, to prepare this team, to prepare myself to play as well as I can and put this team in position to win games. So I take that responsibility very seriously and that is what I’m focused on.”

The Giants haven’t won many games since Jones was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. They are 12-25 with him as the starter, and he has 49 turnovers in 38 career games.

Jones, 24, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Giants have to make a decision on whether to exercise a fifth-year option worth $22.4 million for 2023. General manager Joe Schoen said last week it’s a discussion that still needs to be had.

Jones doesn’t seem overly concerned.

“There will be a time and place for those conversations,” he said. “We’ll see and we’ll take care of that. We’ll do that when it comes up. But I’m focused on what we’re doing here and preparing and taking advantage of every day we have here together.”

Monday marked a significant day in that it’s the first time players can get their hands on a new playbook. Jones and the rest of his teammates can dig into what new coach Brian Daboll has put together.

There is a lot to get done.

“For me, like I said, my focus is on preparing myself,” Jones said. “I take full responsibility for how I played. We haven’t won enough games. We haven’t scored enough points. We haven’t done things well enough.

“I take responsibility for that as a quarterback. You play a big role in those things. That is what I’m focused on. I’m working on improving and making sure myself as well as the offense and team is ready to go daily.”

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New York Giants release tight end Kyle Rudolph, running back Devontae Booker

The New York Giants have releasing veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Devontae Booker, the team revealed Wednesday.

“Certainly not the year any of us expected, but a year we will never forget,” Rudolph wrote earlier Wednesday in social media posts. “… Thanks to everyone in the building who took in and helped this old guy who needed to relearn everything about a new organization.”

Rudolph texted ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he is not retiring and intends to play next season. Rudolph, 32, had just 26 catches for 257 yards with a touchdown in his only year with the Giants.

It was one of the least productive seasons of an accomplished career in which he made two Pro Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 and ’17.

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His release was a rather easy decision for the Giants and a new regime led by general manager Joe Schoen, who stated Tuesday the team would have to make “tough” decisions to reach his goal of cutting $40 million off the salary cap.

Rudolph was arranged to count $7.4 million against the cap this year. The Giants save $5 million with the move, even if it includes $2.4 million in dead money.

By releasing Booker, who averaged 4.1 yards per carry last season, the Giants will save an additional $2 million.

New York will need to address the tight end position in free agency and/or the draft. Starter Evan Engram also is scheduled to be a free agent.

The signing of Rudolph was questionable from the start by former general manager Dave Gettleman. After agreeing to terms on a two-year deal worth $12 million last offseason, it was discovered that Rudolph would need surgery on a foot injury that limited him the previous season.

The Giants, however, decided to honor the contract and Rudolph missed the entire spring and most of the summer. He never really hit his stride in New York as it appeared he lost a step while struggling to create separation — averaging just 2.9 yards per separation, per NextGen Stats. He averaged 4.0 yards and 3.4 yards of separation in the two previous seasons.

Rudolph, who went to Notre Dame, had spent the previous 10 seasons with the Vikings. Only his rookie season and 2014 — when he missed almost half the year with injuries — was he less productive than this past season.

He has 479 catches for 4,745 yards and 49 touchdowns in his professional career.

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New York Giants won’t trade for Deshaun Watson, seek to ‘build an offense around’ Daniel Jones

The New York Giants don’t appear likely to make major changes at quarterback in 2022, and they definitely won’t be in the market for Deshaun Watson.

“We’re not trading for Deshaun Watson,” Giants co-owner John Mara said Wednesday after introducing Joe Schoen as the team’s new general manager. “There are so many reasons why we wouldn’t do that. Cap-wise, we couldn’t afford [the acquisition], but more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that is just not the right fit for us.”

Daniel Jones has been New York’s starting quarterback for the past three campaigns but has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play since being drafted No. 6 overall in 2019.

Watson wants to be traded from the Houston Texans but didn’t play this past season while facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior.

Schoen stated Watson wasn’t even a topic he addressed during the interview process, almost as if he viewed not having interest in Watson as common sense. Watson has a no-trade clause in the deal he signed with Houston in September 2020 and is set to make $35 million in base salary next season.

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“Where we are salary-cap-wise and the pending legal issues, I don’t know how you can go down that road right now,” Schoen said.

The Giants are projected to be about $5 million over the salary cap next season and have Jones on his rookie contract for at least another year.

Schoen and a new head coach who is expected to be hired by early next week will have to decide whether to exercise Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023. The Giants have until May before making that decision.

In the meantime, it appears the Giants are committed to moving forward with Jones, the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2019. Jones threw 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 11 starts this past year before missing the final six weeks with a neck injury.

Jones is expected to be medically cleared in plenty of time for the 2022 season, and Schoen sees enough potential to have him part of the Giants’ plans.

“The kid has physical ability. He’s got arm strength, he’s athletic, he can run,” Schoen said. “I’m really excited to work with Daniel.

“Again, when the new staff gets in here, we’ll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best.”

There are reasons for the Giants to build around the 24-year-old Jones, who has flashed potential despite playing with an insufficient supporting cast.

The Giants were 28th in the NFL in pass block win rate this season at 53.6%. Their starting running back, tight end and top four wide receivers all missed at least two matches as they finished with the 31st-ranked offense.

The Giants organization still trusts in its starting quarterback for most of the past three seasons.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” Mara said. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.

“I have a lot of hope in Daniel. I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination.”

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