Daniel Jones and Other Giants Dilemmas

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones
New York Giants QB Daniel Jones
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - When a franchise has been mismanaged as badly as the New York Giants have been for many years, no direction may be the best direction.

It has been a dreary offseason so far in East Rutherford. Daniel Jones remains in limbo as new general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll ponder the wisdom of exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. No WFAN-fantasy trade of Saquon Barkley for multiple first-round picks materialized. Free agency was a damp fizzle. Schoen and Daboll's message during their combine press conferences last month boiled down to "don't get your hopes up."

The Giants began this week by restructuring the contract of Adoree' Jackson, a serviceable cornerback who signed with the team for three years and $39 million last season. It's rarely a good sign when a team is forced to perform cap restructurings after one year, and Schoen referred to such maneuvers in the past as a "last resort." But there was little else Schoen could do to clear cap space: the Giants couldn't even cut Jackson without eating lots of leftover bonus money, and Jackson doesn't deserve to get cut anyway. Even after pushing Jackson's compensation out through 2024, the Giants still lack the cap space to sign their own 2022 draft class.

That's right: retired former GM Dave Gettleman left the Giants in such perilous cap shape that his successor is exercising his "last resorts" after just a few months on the job, and even the team's most valuable assets—a pair of top-10 draft picks—are a double-edged sword. That's some staggering malpractice.

Schoen and Daboll must be fighting a strong urge to do something: trade Barkley for a 2003 Buick; draft Malik Willis and donate Jones to charity for the tax break; drive donuts in the MetLife Stadium parking lot while blasting Slipknot and screaming Gettleman's name into the North Jersey sky. But while the new Giants brain trust might be able to do something cathartic, they cannot do anything constructive. They're best options are actually destructive: for example, trading cornerback James Bradberry because he's one of the only players on the roster with real market value and wiping his salary off the books would clear at least $12 million.

Moving Bradberry makes veterans-for-resources rebuilding sense, though it would weaken an already pathetic roster in the short term. This is a harm-reduction spring for the Giants. The best moves Schoen and Daboll are making are the ones they are choosing not to make.

The Devil and Danny Dimes

Giants offseason activities began on Monday, and Daniel Jones assured the media that he would be "cleared and ready to go."

Jones suffered a neck injury against the Eagles in Week 12 of 2021, though he stayed in to finish a mucky 13-7 Giants victory. He was limited in practice the following week, then eventually ruled out against the Dolphins. He spent the next two games in an injury-report holding pattern before landing on injured reserve on December 20.

The Giants issued a statement in December—through their head trainer, an unusual source for even injury-related news—that Jones was examined by multiple back and spine experts but had not been cleared for contact. Yet the organization also made it clear that Jones did not need surgery, just a few more weeks of rest.

"I've been adamant in saying with all the information we've been given from the doctors involved and the medical team, that there is no, at this moment, concern for a long-term injury," former coach Joe Judge said at the time. "This is more of a precautionary measure to make sure something isn't aggravated or agitated before it is healed and doesn't turn into something that is chronic and long term."

A suspicious soul might note that Jones' prognosis grew worse whenever Judge's job security became more tenuous. After all, an injured quarterback makes an acceptable excuse for a lost season. Indeed, Judge appeared to have saved his job, even as Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm flailed helplessly on the field, until his press conferences devolved into post-dental surgery ravings.

Conspiracy theories aside, the Giants sounded the "Jones is gonna be just fine" sirens soon after Judge and Gettleman were gone in January. They did not, however, exercise the fifth-year option on Jones' rookie contract, something teams routinely do when they are completely satisfied with the progress of any young player, particularly a quarterback (unless they offer that player a hefty new deal instead).

Jones ranked 26th in DVOA last year, his third straight season in the bottom quartile among starters. He ranked third-worst in failed completions and dead last among 34 qualified starters in ALEX.

There were extenuating circumstances, like the inscrutable Judge, paint-by-numbers coordinator Jason Garrett, and another season behind a flimsy offensive line. There were also a few positive indicators. Per Sports Info Solutions, Jones ranked fifth in adjusted net yards per attempt on 15-plus-yard passes, ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Still, there aren't nearly enough splits to suggest that Jones is some undiscovered Josh Allen. Even Jones' rushing was a net negative according to DVOA and DYAR.

The fifth-year option would cost the Giants a little over $22 million guaranteed in 2023. Failure to exercise the option makes Jones a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. If Jones enjoys a breakout year under Daboll and his staff, the Giants will probably be forced to franchise tag him at a salary of around $35 million. But if Jones cements his status among the bottom quartile of NFL starters and/or suffers through another injury-marred season, the Giants can move on for free.

The Giants have until May 2 to decide. As of now, it sure appears that they are hedging in the direction of not anticipating that breakout season.

Schoen and Daboll might simply have been waiting to see Jones in the building for a few days, healthy and bushy-tailed, before making their contract decision. Perhaps they are waiting until they process more contracts for players like Adoree' Jackson before they commit any 2023 money to Jones (and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, whose fifth-year option will cost the Giants around $11 million to exercise). They possibly have one eye on Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo if one becomes available for a third-day draft pick.

There are also political factors. Owner John Mara, who hates being portrayed as a meddler but not enough to stop, thinks of Jones as Eli Manning Junior and his Giants as grand custodians of the sport who approach the development of young quarterbacks with old-fashioned patience and care. Mara has made it clear that he wants Jones to get an "intelligent evaluation" under better conditions.

Daboll, meanwhile, has his Josh Allen-certified quarterback guru reputation to protect and enhance. Mara hired Daboll to turn Jones into Allen. Daboll knows it. So Daboll must be diplomatic about any potential pivot to Plan B.

In summary, Jones isn't the Giants starting quarterback in 2022 because he's still a top prospect. He the Giants starter because: a) he's cheap in 2022; b) any replacement would cost money and resources the team doesn't have; and c) the guy who signs the checks loves him.

The Giants may well exercise that fifth-year option, because it's Mara's money to spend. But Daboll and Schoen were there when the Bills transitioned from Tyrod Taylor (Jones' new backup/quasi-challenger) to Nathan Peterman (LOL) to Allen. They know that quarterback succession must be handled delicately. Often, that starts by signaling to everyone, including their boss, that they are not making a full commitment to the incumbent.

For Trade, Running Back, Poorly Used

Saquon Barkley's services will cost the Giants $7.2 million guaranteed this season unless they can find a trading partner. Which is why they are extremely unlikely to find a trading partner.

Barkley rushed for 593 yards and 3.7 yards per carry in 2021. He ranked 45th in both rushing DVOA and DYAR last year, behind luminaries such as Chuba Hubbard and Rex Burkhead. His receiving DVOA and DYAR were also negative. He was healthy for just two games in 2020 and hasn't played a full season since his 2018 Pro Bowl rookie year.

Barkley was a rock star at Penn State. He remains a binkie to the traditionalist hive of Giants fans, who either eagerly await his return to greatness or believe that some team is slathering to offer the Giants a Ricky Williams trade. But Barkley is really the wooden stake through the vampire heart of the argument that a running back should ever be taken in the top half of the first round of the draft.

The draft pick the Giants used on Barkley could have been Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson. Of course. it could also have been Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. Or Quenton Nelson or Vita Vea, for that matter, if Gettleman truly followed his muse that year. All of that woulda-coulda-shoulda speculation is in the past. As of April of 2022, Barkley may end up costing the Giants James Bradberry, a broken-down running back eating up resources the team needs to retain a quality starting cornerback in his prime.

That's precisely the sort of long-range opportunity-cost calculation Gettleman loved to publicly chuckle off. Barkley's fifth-year option was like his going away present to his successors. But then, so were many of the roster and financial decisions the Giants made in 2020 and 2021, when they pretended they were win-now contenders despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

No wonder Schoen doesn't want to spend any future bucks. He's currently stuck paying so many bills from the past that he cannot get anything done.

Barkley would still look pretty good as part of a Super Bowl contender's backfield committee. Unfortunately, most Super Bowl contenders a) don't have over $7 million lying around for a running back right now; and b) didn't become Super Bowl contenders by blowing money and draft picks on other teams' damaged-goods veterans.

So Barkley probably will not be traded. His guaranteed contract means he won't get released. He'll join Jones in a zombie backfield, a weekly reminder that the last regime failed so catastrophically that the new regime needs a full year for the radiation to decay to healthy levels before they clean up in earnest.

The 2022 New York Giants: At Least We're Not Weirdos

The good news in East Rutherford is that Schoen and Daboll are doing the hard work. There are no delusions about the state of the roster or "compete while rebuilding" messages. There's little bibble-babble about "culture change." They have yet to lard the roster with Bills castoffs, give or take a Tyrod Taylor, the way other new showrunners do with veterans from their past teams.

Also, Gettleman is no longer baiting and trolling the press pool at every opportunity. Judge isn't around to act like a paranoid conspiracy-theorist YouTuber. Garrett isn't ordering reporters to call him "coach." Schoen and Daboll don't feel compelled to remind us of how smart they are, or how dumb they think we are, the way the other guys did.

Gettleman's truly useful parting gift to the Giants was an extra first-round pick. The Giants will pick fifth and seventh overall in the 2022 draft. The fifth pick will almost certainly be spent on one of the top tackles in this draft class: Alabama's Evan Neal, North Carolina State's Ickey Ekwonu, or Mississippi State's Charles Cross. The seventh could be an edge rusher or cornerback. A quarterback is unlikely but not completely out of the question; per Grinding the Mocks, the Giants draft a quarterback in 2.8% of all mock drafts, though the engagement of a huge fanbase with an edgy selection factor must be priced into that percentage.

The Giants could also trade down with the seventh pick in exchange for extra selections and a somewhat cheaper guaranteed first-round contract. Their Holy Grail might be an extra first-round pick next year, when quarterback prospects may be more plentiful and their cash flow more liquid. Such a move would make the 2022 Giants look even more like the 2021 Giants. But it would eventually help kickstart a true rebuilding effort.

Safely detonating Gettleman's leftover contract explosives will take time. Managing Mara's expectations will also likely be a delicate operation. The Giants may not get worse before they get better, but only because it's hard to get any worse than they were at the end of 2021. They'll probably stay the same before they get better. But that doesn't mean that Schoen and Daboll aren't making a kind of progress.

Schoen and Daboll are like doctors who are finally giving it to us straight after years of quack remedies. Next year is gonna hurt. But they will do everything they can to not prolong the agony.

Meanwhile, in South Philly

HOWIE ROSEMAN: (picks up phone) Eagles headquarters. Howie Wowie speaking. Is that you Mickey?

MICKEY LOOMIS: (through a spotty connection) Can you hear me Howie? I just switched to a new phone plan. I only pay 20 bucks per month this year in exchange for $800 per month guaranteed for three years after my phone becomes obsolete.

HOWIE: Shrewd! So I suppose you are calling about my gonzo stack of first-round picks?

MICKEY: Yep! Any chance you will part with No. 15?

HOWIE: Hell no. We need a wide receiver, and I am not letting you cut in line in front of us for one. But I could part with No. 16. I know you need a left tackle. Sorry to hear about Terron Armstead leaving, by the way.

MICKEY: Yeah, that stunk. We cleared cap space for him by extending some contracts through 2029 and everything. I can't understand why guys keep leaving. Hold on, be right back, it's time to fluff Taysom Hill's pillow.

(Ten minutes later…)

MICKEY: Where were we?

HOWIE: You started negotiations by offering me your 2023 first-round pick for this year's 16th pick so you can draft someone like Northern Iowa left tackle Trevor Penning.

MICKEY: Oh, we're not just moving up to 16. I don't want to give away my master plan or anything, but what I really want to do is get two first-round picks that I can package for an even higher pick this year.

HOWIE: So you are willing to trade me your 2023 first-rounder and a third-rounder this year for an extra pick that you can then package with the 19th pick so you can maybe sneak into the top 10? Sounds risky. It's gotta be a quarterback, right?

MICKEY: I'm not telling. But you know how it is: sometimes you have to put together a blockbuster package to get the guy you want.

HOWIE: I can relate.

MICKEY: Maybe he helps you win a Super Bowl. Maybe he tears the franchise apart.

HOWIE: Maybe he does both!

MICKEY: You get it! It's not like I'm flailing around after missing out on Deshaun Watson or anything. Like, we were this close to being able to wipe that smirk off Jason Licht's face and shut up all those critics who say I run my budgets like a brother-in-law who borrows money from you to pay off his Jet Skis. But I am passed that now.

HOWIE: Of course you are. You re-signed Jameis Winston, then signed Andy Dalton, and now you are offering me a third-rounder, a 2023 first-rounder, and a 2024 second-rounder for a first-round pick you hope to package with your own first-round pick to acquire an even higher first-round pick in a weak quarterback class. It's a totally cogent strategy.

MICKEY: Right! Four significant resources over three years for one player! And that player's gotta be awesome, because I've already committed $257 million to the 2023 cap, much of it to defenders in their 30s, running backs in legal trouble, a gadget specialist, and a former superstar wide receiver who hasn't caught a touchdown pass since Week 15 of the 2019 season.

HOWIE: Who cares about next year? The cap is fake, right?

MICKEY: The cap is fake! The draft is a crapshoot! Age ain't nothin' but a number! The future is fake! Mere mortals cannot comprehend how cap gurus like us do business!

HOWIE: If you say so. You drive a hard bargain, Mickey, so I will even throw in a sixth-rounder for the 16th pick and the 101st pick, next year's first-rounder and that 2024 seventh-rounder. Oh, and a seventh-rounder.

MICKEY: Deal! That first-round pick I just stole from you is the missing piece to the Saints Super Bowl puzzle. Later, losers!

(Hangs up)

NICK SIRIANNI: (Shooting trashcan baskets in the corner of Roseman's office) Brah! Doesn't he realize that, like, Drew Brees was totally the missing piece of the Saints Super Bowl puzzle?

HOWIE: He does not, Nick. he does not.

SIRIANNI: Based! So, like, whatcha gonna do now, dude?

HOWIE: I think I'll call around to see if anyone else wants a 2022 first-round pick that they can package to move up for a quarterback. Mickey just adores that sort of challenge.

Comments

55 comments, Last at 11 Apr 2022, 10:19pm

1 if schoen and daboll read your column...

I imagine anyone driving on the turnpike en route from the GWB might be seeing two cars doing donuts right now. Its probably the best use of their time...

As for Howie, I wouldn't be surprised if he insisted on the 16th because it is the Carson pick. I am sure the cigar he puffed once the transaction posted tasted that much better.

By the end of his career, someone in a football analytics department is going to write their PhD thesis on how Wentz was the greatest draft force multiplier/diminsher in NFL history. 

5 Hard to get past Herschel…

Hard to get past Herschel Walker or the Dickerson/Williams trades. Walker has perhaps the greatest long-term ramifications for draft strategy in NFL history.

Quietly, the Tunsil trade may have almost as significant of long-term ramifications, if for entirely different reasons.

6 Don't assume Wentz trades…

Don't assume Wentz trades are done. But they started in 2017 and I think there are reverberations from that first trade still being felt (tanier might have written about it). Now we have colts, saints and redsk...commanders all feeling reverberations going on, some for the next few years (. At least). 2017 through 2024 and beyond, depending on future trade downs. Howie might try to ride Carson to an additional 1 ad infinitum, considering the saints pick has top 10 all over it. And if he shows at all in Washington, expect another trade. The initial magnitude of those trades you cite were greater, but I am talking the integral over a single players career. 3 trades and counting.

8 The fun one is the Rivers…

The fun one is the Rivers-Manning draft swap trade. That one reverberated through the careers of Drew Brees and Kurt Warner as well (both ended up with the team that got them into the HoF due to this trade), and may have even touched on Wentz!

2 Owner John Mara, who hates…

Owner John Mara, who hates being portrayed as a meddler but not enough to stop, thinks of Jones as Eli Manning Junior

The weird part is if you just suck for a few more years, you can get an actual Manning Junior.

Pretty much all the Mannings have worked out. Hell, you could have gotten better GM performance by hiring Cooper.

3 But Barkley is really the…

But Barkley is really the wooden stake through the vampire heart of the argument that a running back should ever be taken in the top half of the first round of the draft.

Confirmation bias.

Barkley's issue isn't that he sucked. His issue is that he hasn't been healthy. Some guys are just snakebit and it's completely random. His absence of availability reflects on RBs no more than RG3's injuries or Jeff Okudah's injuries prove you shouldn't draft QBs or CBs high in the 1st. Sometimes you roll a one. Good processes still generate bad outcomes.

It's not like these guys were injury list frequent fliers in college. And hell, even that works the other way sometimes. Lattimore and Gronkowski worked pretty well, even though they were basically never healthy in college.

4 Even if Barkley had never…

Even if Barkley had never missed a game in the last 4 years, it's still a poor pick. Devontae Booker was essentially equal to Barkley last season, and no running back can succeed behind the offensive line the Giants have thrown out during that time.

7 There are mutual arguments…

There are mutual arguments here, but their intersection is tenuous at best.

  1. No RB is worth a bucket of warm piss.
  2. Barkley's injuries prove #1.

The analytical argument for #1 is independent of injuries. Few players complete a full season in any sport, and almost all sports are seeing movement towards superstars playing in a smaller proportion of their team's games/time. For better or worse, teams are optimizing peak outcome and reducing ironman availability. Hell, this is an ancient trend. As hidebound as baseball is, you'll never see stats like this again: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/y/youngcy01.shtml

I suspect #1 has become increasingly true, but is not fully true, and this truth is a recent phenomenon. I don't think you could port it backwards even as far as the mid-90s. NFL rules weren't always completely broken.

You will always find guys who busted due to injuries. Sometimes this was inevitable -- if you draft guys with horrible injury histories, you only have yourself to blame. But sometimes it's just the bad kind of luck. The GOAT list of QBs is just stuffed with QBs who survived at least one career-threatening injury and a bunch of guys fortunate enough that the one that got them came late. But what if a McMahon, an Archie Manning, or a Pennington weren't oft-injured?

33 There is a big gap between…

There is a big gap between this:

  1. No RB is worth a bucket of warm piss.
  2. Barkley's injuries prove #1.

And this:

But Barkley is really the wooden stake through the vampire heart of the argument that a running back should ever be taken in the top half of the first round of the draft.

A 7th rounder is the draft equivalent of a warm bucket of piss.  There's five and a half rounds between Tanier's statement and the 7th round.

I think the argument here makes a good case on why a high 1st shouldn't be used on an RB (the salary cap part more than the WAR discussion):

https://www.pff.com/news/draft-why-positional-value-matters-in-the-nfl-draft

10 Injuries are part-and-parcel…

Injuries are part-and-parcel of playing halfback though. You get hit a lot by guys who are larger than you, at weird angles. It's a high-wear position - especially if you're the supposed franchise back who gets force-fed touches. The freaks who are able to keep doing it year-after-year without missing time are the exception.

12 Really, Mike??

The "they could've drafted Lamar Jackson!!!" part is particularly pathetic. He fell to the bottom of the 1st round. If anyone thought Lamar was even a top-20 prospect, that wouldn't have happened.

The Giants had 3 options: 1), draft Barkley; 2), draft Darnold; 3), trade the pick to someone who wanted to draft Darnold.

23 Barkley's issue isn't that…

Barkley's issue isn't that he sucked.

I dare say the issue is that he in fact was great - he had 2000 yards from scrimmage! - and it just didn't move the needle one iota. The team wasn't in position to take advantage of his talents until after he broke - which happened in no small part because they were terrible, couldn't block and couldn't threaten a defense in any other way.

Good scheme and linemen can make an average RB productive. It doesn't work the other way - Barkley might be the last, best example.

25 The team wasn't in position…

The team wasn't in position to take advantage of his talents until after he broke - which happened in no small part because they were terrible, couldn't block and couldn't threaten a defense in any other way.

Not sure what the argument is here...the team sucked so don't draft a good player (or maybe a good RB specifically?) b/c it will be a waste? It wasn't a waste in the sense that he was really productive. It was just that there whole team sucked.

Good scheme and linemen can make an average RB productive. It doesn't work the other way.

You just contradicted this with your above argument. They were terrible, couldn't block, etc. And yet he generated 2k yards from scrimmage, in no small part because of his otherworldly talent. To put it in simplest terms: they scored TDs because he made something from nothing, something that maybe no other RB in the league could have made.

Look, I get that the positional value isn't there, in part because of the wear and tear, and thus drafting a RB really high isn't ideal. But let's not pretend there's no difference between pre-injury Barkley and Random Dude. There is, and it's a huge difference. Hell, it's glaringly obvious just from watching the highlights.

And he was a better pick than the most likely alternative (Darnold) for sheer entertainment value as well as effectiveness.

 

28 I am a Giants fan, but that…

I am a Giants fan, but that's beside the point. I'm not defending the Giants. I'm not claiming Barkley was a good pick, either at the time or in retrospect. I'm arguing against the extreme version of RB fungibility: that, in the words of the poster I responded to originally, good schemes/OLs make for a productive running game, not RBs themselves, and therefore RBs have little value. That's true up to a point, but only up to a point. Barkley was crazy good: a unique and uniquely entertaining talent.

30 The problem is, just how…

The problem is, just how much do even great rbs move the needle. In the last few years, its been basically just Derrick Henry. 

Even with Saquon being super good when healthy, it just hasn't seemed to matter much. Perhaps that's unfair in the sense that it's unlikely even Deion Sanders would have done much on this particular Giants team. But then Deion was still likely to be useful when the giants finally got good versus Saquon who would probably have broken down by this point if he had not been injured.

Bottom line, even great backs don't appear to bring enough game changing value to justify their relatively short window of productivity.

45 The edit button only works…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The edit button only works for the poster of a comment. You should use it more frequently.

34 The argument is: don't draft…

The argument is: don't draft a RB that high, no matter how good, unless he's very obviously the last piece of the contention puzzle (so, pretty much ever). Barkley hit as well as could be expected, and it didn't help them win in the present, and it didn't set them up to win in the future. Even Quenton Nelson, another star at a position of dubious value, would've been a better pick, because he would be much more likely to stay healthy and productive during a rebuild - and would've helped whichever QB they decided to go with to develop/succeed, even if they didn't like any of the '18 prospects at 1-2.

32 There are plenty of HOF QBs…

There are plenty of HOF QBs who couldn’t overcome a talent black hole.

Young was a disaster in Tampa. Aikman went 0-11 for a bad Dallas team. Tarkenton started his career 4-19-1. Peyton started 3-13 and led the league in INTs. Brees was 2-9 in his second year.

No man is an island.

35 Sure, but those teams were…

Sure, but those teams were unsuccessful in no small part because those guys weren't good their first couple of seasons. Development takes time (though I suspect less for RBs than most other positions).

My point wasn't that Barkley didn't single-handedly turn around the Giants - no one could, not even any of those guys in their prime - but it was that he played really well right from the jump, and it didn't really improve them in the short- or long-term, because the RB position just isn't that valuable.

37 Peak Drew Brees went 7-9…

Peak Drew Brees went 7-9 three consecutive seasons. Peak Unitas was MVP-3 on a 6-6 team and was 29-25 over a 4-season stretch for Weeb Ewbank and Don Shula. Peak Marino was 29-31 (also for Shula) as the roster eroded around him.

Mid-career Warner was 7-19 for bad St Louis, NYG, and Arizona teams.

There are few guys, even at the HOF level, who can make a bad team good. (This was something first and last years aside that P. Manning could do, which is what set him above his father and brother, and arguably Brees and Brady) There are some who can flourish on bad teams and make them noticeably better. There are some who are good on good teams and bad on bad teams -- they are a product of their surrounding circumstances. (Some are just a suck for all seasons)

But these unicorns essentially never come around in the draft -- you see perhaps a handful active in the NFL at any given time and their emergence is basically unpredictable. So given you will never intentionally find and select one, what do you do?

39 We're arguing against…

We're arguing against magical thinking, because confirmation bias is the most popular kind of bias.

Yes, a great RB is wasted on a trashcan roster. A great anything is wasted on a trashcan roster (except maybe Robopunter). That's an argument that's not probative. Even worse, the idea of avoiding drafting a player who cannot solely make a shitty roster great self-perpetuates. If the decision to trade back endlessly (because no draft pick will be worth it on this black hole) is the one that's executed, the roster will never stop being a black hole and you will never escape the event horizon. (Hawking radiation pressure goes to zero) It becomes a local maximum optimization problem.

This is the problem with bad examples and bad process. There is a supportable argument for which positions to value when and why, but the particular example here and the explanations re: Barkley are based upon entirely different (and poorly supported) arguments. But you want to buy into the bad process, because you believe the result it generated.

41 So we really are

Gonna take it to the extremes when the current unanimous all pro RB couldn't crack the playoffs in a division with the worst and 3rd worst teams in the entire league while the mvp getters got to the divisional round.

We really going in on the exceptions

43 You're arguing against a…

You're arguing against a straw man. I don't think anybody is saying that you should only draft certain positions because they can singlehandedly turn around a bad team. It's that the important positions both do more to help turn around a team and have significantly longer careers (if they hit), plus a good bit of value over the alterative. QBs, offensive lineman (particularly tackles), edge rushers - these are all positions that do more to improve a team in today's NFL than RBs do, plus if they work out you can basically guarantee they'll be as good in the last year of their rookie deal as their first. On top of that, it's much easier to get sufficient performance by taking a flier on 2-3 later round RBs than it is 2-3 QBs or LTs. So why would you spend your limited resource (a high 1st round pick) on something that has both less and shorter upside potential as well as being easier to reproduce with less valuable resources?

9 Jones hasn't been good enough

To warrant ignoring the time he's missed.

And seeing the Darnold experiment fail with new coaches, they shouldn't think he's any different and decline the 5YO. They have 3 tags if they're wrong.

21 So this is not a slight on…

So this is not a slight on Josh Allen, who I am pretty high on as a QB. But I'm curious what you saw coming into his third year that didn't heavily signal bust. 

From just a numbers point of view, he was second to last in DVOA and dyar his rookie year( finishing above extreme bust Josh Rosen). His second year was better, but still pretty awful.

Now, I'm sure he had moments, but those are true even for guys like Jamarcus Russel, who could flash a throw here or there. Theres a reason a guy finished so badly as to leave little doubt what the problem is. In fact, in that playoff loss to the Texans, I saw a coaching staff actively trying to hide their quarterback.

To me Josh Allen's career is a happy accident. Extreme outlier that otherwise doesn't invalidate the pessimism when a quarterback puts together two extremely poor years. The only other quarterbacks that follow this career pattern that come to mind are Drew Brees to a lesser extent Alex Smith.

 

44 My recollection (warning:…

My recollection (warning: strong potential hindsight /confirmation bias) was that there was some positive scouting buzz from year 2, even if the results hadn't come yet. Like obviously I don't think anybody predicted his actual 2020 but I feel like I remember hearing about his improving accuracy/mechanics in year 2.

47 I saw in Josh Allen a QB…

I saw in Josh Allen a QB that improved a lot from 2018 to 2019, from terrible in '18 to mediocre but promising in 2019. His stats in 2019 were better than any Bills QB season of the previous 20 years except '02 Bledsoe.

48 Check out Ryan Fitzpatrick…

Check out Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyrod Taylor.

Neither set the world on fire, but by "stats", they were better than Allen in 2019. To characterize that season as mediocre would be extremely charitable. 28th ranked DVoa is not "mediocre". It's abysmal.

I maintain. Josh Allen is an outlier. Nothing about his two year career is anything you should hang your hat on.

 

 

52 The only argument that can…

The only argument that can be made isn't statistical. He hadn't been coached properly until he got to the NFL. The jump in processing between year one and year two was big, but you could tell by watching he wasn't quite there yet - he was so determined to get better. As someone here put it, Allen managed to slip through a system designed to filter and direct talent from high school onward.

Then again, he also had the physicality and mental makeup to be successful. You can't coach the arm, but he seemed like he could be coached in what to do with it.

I (admittedly) don't follow the Giants anywhere near as closely as Buffalo, but I do see them more than most teams since I live in Commanders country. Jones came from a major college program, and virtually none of the caveats applied to Allen fit him. Alex Smith is a better career comparison, if not a physical one, as he also started his career in a tire fire.

55 Greg Cosell, when asked…

Greg Cosell, when asked about Mahomes after he had won his MVP and was about to make his first SB, gave a refreshingly honest answer to his predraft evaluation. 

Paraphrasing, but the coaches Cosell surveyed were pretty leery about drafting Mahomes, despite his otherwordly tools. The gist went something like this. Whatever gameplan and designed set of plays the coaches developed, Mahomes basically sandlotted most of the time. And it was extremely concerning that a week's worth of efforts would be useless for a QB who played almost entirely off of instinct.

14 There's a really good…

There's a really good article about picking up Jones' 5th-year option on the Ringer. It shows data supporting what I've seen for three years now: he's been in arguably the worst QB situation in the NFL the last two years, and has looked pretty decent at times in spite of that.

I am not trying to say he'll be an All-Pro once he gets in a good situation; just that it's too early to write him off. There's merit on both sides of the 5th year option debate, but Schoen/Daboll would have been crazy not to at least give him one year in an NFL offensive with at least a semi-competent OL before making a long-term decision on him.

19 Sounds like Darnold

And it sounds like they're giving him a year, which is probably fine. Despite having multiple 1sts there's no talk of a QB at 5 or 7. 

It's just next year that they probably shouldn't guarantee at this point. 

15 When people say mediocrity,…

When people say mediocrity, they think of the Vikings, but they really mean the Giants. Because in today's world, mediocrity(like the word interesting) is an extreme pejorative masquerading as a lukewarm take.

The Giants also show you the extreme downsides of a tear down and rebuild. The Giants were effectively a blank slate once it became obvious that Eli Manning was toast. They then hired the worst brain trust combo and its led to this...a team with probably the worst long term championship odds. Seriously, even the current Seahawks are better setup for the future than the Giants. 

That said, their path forward couldn't be clearer. Even if Jones is being held back and is secretly good ( I don't think he is); hes unlikely to do much with the current supporting cast next year. That means, like it or not, you are headed for the toilet in 2022; which is just fine because new coaches are usually given a mulligan to endure first year pain. The two first rounders should be used on longevity positions to setup the incoming qb for next year. 

36 It seems like Tanier's…

It seems like Tanier's infatuation with the Saints has reached a whole new level, but if you're trying to troll Saints fans Mike, why have you hidden this hilarious skit at the end of an article that most Saints fans won't even bother reading?

Surely something this funny deserved it's own separate article, because frankly people are missing out on some comedy gold here.

46 I have the feeling that…

I have the feeling that picking Josh Allen (either one) instead of Jones would still end up as a failure for NYG as then managed.