10 QB options for Giants if they move on from Daniel Jones

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  • New York Giants
    New York Giants
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  • Daniel Jones
    Daniel Jones
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Marcus Mariota goes to launch ball downfield in Raiders black uniform
Marcus Mariota goes to launch ball downfield in Raiders black uniform

Daniel Jones is expected to make a full recovery from the sprained neck that prematurely ended his season, and Giants head coach Joe Judge sure sounded like he wanted his starting quarterback back again next year.

But what if Jones can’t play? Or what if the Giants change their mind?

Unfortunately for them, their options are slim.

With a lack of salary cap space, a weaker-than-usual crop of quarterbacks coming out in the draft, and too many needs to justify a blockbuster trade, there aren’t many other places for the Giants to turn if they decide to move on from Jones next season. They’d probably be better served by bringing in a quality veteran backup to push Jones or even compete for his job.

But if they do decide to look for a new starter, here’s a look at the possibilities:

Russell Wilson

Get ready for an offseason of speculation about this, probably all the way up until training camp. It is not impossible. But because the Giants are only projected to have $3.5 million in salary cap space, they’d have to cut a bunch of top players to clear enough cap room, and it wouldn’t leave them much to fill their many other needs.

Plus, if Seattle decides to trade him – still a big “if” -- it would likely cost the Giants their two first round picks and more. Essentially, they’d be gutting their team and mortgaging their future on a 33-year-old quarterback to come play for a rebuilding team. And if Wilson really was frustrated playing behind Seattle’s offensive line … well, has he seen the Giants’ line?

Deshaun Watson

No team was crazy enough to meet the Texans’ ridiculous asking price for a player with two-dozen civil lawsuits, multiple criminal complaints, and allegations of sexual assault hanging over his head. The price will probably get lower in the offseason and someone will pay it because winning is all that ever really matters in the NFL.

But the Giants can’t be dumb enough to think bringing Watson to New York is a good idea. They’ve never completely shied away from players with criminal histories and character issues before, but he’s too high-profile and there are too many unknowns. A team could trade for him and he might never play a down for them. Also, for whatever it’s worth, it would just be wrong.

Oct 25, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (23) shake hands after a game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (23) shake hands after a game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Pickett/Matt Corral/Sam Howell/Carson Strong

These four are probably the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft (for now), though some do think Liberty’s Malik Willis belongs in this group, too. Whoever’s in the group, it is generally regarded as a down year in the draft for quarterbacks – no sure-fire, franchise-changer. Maybe not even a quarterback ready to start next year.

So for the Giants, yeah, they could start over with somebody else. But it’s a risk to assume any of them will be better than Jones, and it might take three more years to find out.

Marcus Mariota

It wasn’t that long ago that he was the second overall pick in the draft (2015) and he’s still only 28 years old. He never lived up to his lofty potential, but his first two years in the NFL weren’t bad. He can throw, he can run and there are some NFL people who think he can still play in the right situation.

The Giants probably aren’t a “right situation” for anybody, but he might be the best bet of an old, backup-heavy free-agent crop. He could be an interesting stop-gap for a couple of years until the Giants find another Quarterback of the Future. Might be worth bringing him to compete with Jones next year, at least.

Jameis Winston

Maybe the most talented player on this list and a former No. 1 overall draft pick (2015). He put up huge numbers in Tampa in yards and touchdowns. Unfortunately, he put up huge numbers in interceptions, too.

For what it’s worth, in a scaled-down version of himself, he threw 14 TDs and just three interceptions in seven starts in New Orleans this year (going 5-2). He’s now working his way back from a torn ACL, which makes him a big risk. But he’s only 27. Maybe bring him in as a backup and a Plan B for 2023 if Jones doesn’t rebound next year? Just a thought.

Teddy Bridgewater

All he does is play well wherever he goes. He went 5-0 for the Saints in 2019, was decent on a bad Panthers team in 2020, and has 18 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for a mediocre Broncos team this year.

At 29, he falls in the category of “good, but not great." He’s probably not the QB the Giants want to be anchored to for the long-term future, but he’d be a terrific stop-gap option as they search for the next golden child.

Tyrod Taylor

In his three seasons as a starter in Buffalo (2015-17), he threw 51 touchdown passes and just 16 interceptions. He’s never really gotten a chance anywhere else. He wasn’t good in Houston this year, but that situation is a disaster. At 32, he’s only a backup or stop-gap starter. But he’d be good at either of those jobs.

Mitchell Trubisky

Another former second overall pick who was more mediocre than bad in his time as the Bears’ franchise quarterback. He’s not generally viewed as favorably as Mariota has been, but at 27, he also could be a viable stop-gap. He makes more sense as a future backup to Jones.

Jacoby Brissett

He was a darling of NFL scouts for a long time, but has been mostly OK in his one full season as a starter in Indianapolis (2019). He’s still only 29, but he was very game-manager-like in his five starts with the Dolphins this year. Hard to say if the upside is still there. Not a bad backup option, though.

Cam Newton

His performance in New England last year and in Carolina this year aren’t encouraging, though the Panthers are more of a mess than the Giants. There’s a lot of talent in his 32-year-old arm, but the production hasn’t been there in many years. Maybe a backup, but he might be too high-profile for that job.