Joe Schoen was in Buffalo when the Bills took more than a few steps back the season after ending their 17-year playoff drought in 2017.
But Bills GM Brandon Beane stuck to his plan, and that plan featured drafting Josh Allen in 2018.
Schoen’s plan for the Giants revolved in large part around the hope that Brian Daboll could turn Daniel Jones into a replica of Josh Allen. It is why the Giants made him their $40 Million Man.
The plan needs a Plan B.
The Giants ideally need to hedge their Daniel Jones bet by selecting their insurance franchise quarterback for 2025 and beyond as long as they fall in love with one in the quarterback-rich 2024 draft class.
Because for every Josh Allen, there is a Zach Wilson, or a Trey Lance, or a Mac Jones, or a Josh Rosen. Sam Darnold was the third overall pick in 2018.
How have Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the first and second picks of the 2015 NFL Draft, panned out?Joe Schoen talked about the future of the Giants at quaterback. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
“There’s always risk,” Schoen said. “Look at the past however many years of top-10 quarterbacks… It’s not a position you can just evaluate on film, I don’t believe. You gotta get with these kids, you gotta meet with them, you gotta get around them, you gotta put ‘em on the board, can they learn, can they process information? You gotta talk to the people… especially in this market, like bring a quarterback into this market. It’s not for everybody. Not everybody can handle it.”
Jones proved he could handle it. But he may or may not be ready for the 2024 opener following his ACL surgery last week. If he is, he should be the starter behind what cannot be anything but a better offensive line. He hasn’t lost the respect of his teammates. Or coaches. Or the GM.
“The expectation is when Daniel’s healthy he will be our starting quarterback,” Schoen said.Washington star quarterback Michael Penix could be a Giants target. Getty Images
You can win with Daniel Jones. The 2022 Giants did win with Daniel Jones. The urge to abandon him and throw the baby out with the bathwater is folly.
“I still believe in Daniel,” Schoen said, “and the person.”
It is risky business after a second neck injury and the torn ACL to trust that he can stay on the field with a contract that the club can move on from after next season without prohibitive consequences. If the Giants decided to release Jones before the 2025 season, they would only have a dead cap figure of $22.2 million.
Jones, following his struggles behind an offensive line that devalued him, has not made a slam dunk case for New York Giants franchise quarterback perpetuity.
“We’re still gonna have to address the position at some point,” Schoen said, “‘cause there’s no guarantee he’s gonna be back Week 1.”Jayden Daniels has created Heisman buzz at LSU. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
Jersey Guy Tommy DeVito, who has damaged any chance of landing Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, can stay because he is worth developing.
“He’s got some swagger and some presence about him that the players like and they follow him,” Schoen said. And Tyrod Taylor will be an unrestricted free agent.
Michael Penix, Bo Nix, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy and Quinn Ewers are the names you will be hearing across the next five months. Could one of them prove better than Williams or Maye? Always possible. And Schoen has done extensive work on the NFL draft.
“We’ll take the best player available,” Schoen said. “If the best player available for our team is at a certain position, we’ll take it, we won’t shy away from it.”
Schoen will need to continue to upgrade the offensive line and find a true No. 1 wide receiver while he’s at it, and hope that tight end Darren Waller can overcome his injury history. Saquon Barkley is a keeper, case closed.
But franchise quarterback insurance should be his top priority.
This was Beane at 2-7 in 2018 when he was asked if making the playoffs in his first season was a blessing or a curse: “We tried to a send message that we haven’t arrived, that we’re not there, that this roster is in transition.”Bo Nix has had an amazing season at Oregon. AP
And: “You can’t abort the plan because you’re not winning. You have to set a plan and stick with it.”
The plan is a lot easier to stick with when you find yourself a Josh Allen.