Daniel Jones Replacements: 3 Targets for the Giants if They Decline His Fifth-Year Option
It's hard to say Daniel Jones' time with the New York Giants has been a total failure, but it certainly hasn't been a success. After showing flashes of promise with 24 touchdowns across 12 starts in his rookie season, Danny Dimes has tossed just 21 touchdowns to 21 interceptions across 25 starts over the last two years.
It's not entirely his fault the Giants have only managed a 12-25 record in his time as a starter, but it's looking increasingly clear that he's not going to be a franchise quarterback. That's why fans may not be surprised to learn that the G-Men don't plan on picking up his fifth-year option.
That would leave Jones set to be an unrestricted free agent in one year's time. Of course that leaves a full season to prove himself and earn a contract extension, but it would also mean the Giants are prepared to move on if he doesn't prove himself.
If they do move on, here are three quarterbacks the Giants should target to replace Daniel Jones.
1. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
If Jones doesn't step up in 2022, then it's the 2023 free agent class that could hold the key to the future of the Giants' offense. Kirk Cousins may not be a superstar, but he's quietly played at a well-above-average level over the last few seasons. The Minnesota Vikings don't throw enough to have Cousins rack up gaudy stats, but he's averaged 8.1 adjusted yards per pass attempt (AY/A) in Minny. For context, that same mark in the 2021 season had him ranked sixth among qualifying quarterbacks. Cousins will be 34 years old next offseason, but with the recent trend of quarterbacks playing well into their late 30s, that could still give the Giants a nice four- or five-year window to contend with Cousins at the helm.
2. Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Would it be worthwhile for the Giants to use a top draft pick on a quarterback when they still have a starter for the season ahead? Well, it worked out okay when they drafted Eli Manning despite planning on using Kurt Warner as their starting quarterback in 2004. This pick would obviously signal that they've all but given up on Jones. It's hard to imagine he'd feel great about starting the season with an obvious replacement behind him on the depth chart, but that could also open the door for the Giants to trade Jones rather than letting him walk as a free agent.
3. Bryce Young, Alabama
A poor season from Jones in 2022 would probably leave the Giants with one of the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. That would give them a shot at a top QB prospect, and Bryce Young looks to have an early lead on Ohio State's C.J. Stroud as the No. 1 QB in the draft class. Young's 2021 Heisman campaign saw him throw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions across 15 games. For context, Danny Dimes threw for 52 touchdowns with 29 interceptions across 36 games as a starter at Duke. Young would obviously carry massive long-term upside, but the success of young passers like Joe Burrow also suggests that Young could have the potential to get the Giants into contention sooner than you might think.
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