Home Sports Daniel Jones ‘wasn’t fired up about’ Giants’ attempts to draft his replacement

Daniel Jones ‘wasn’t fired up about’ Giants’ attempts to draft his replacement

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Daniel Jones 'wasn't fired up about' Giants’ attempts to draft his replacement

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey – Three times, Daniel Jones mentioned his emotions about his new wide receiver.

Each time, the New York Giants quarterback described Malik Nabers, the sixth overall pick, with the same phrase.

“I’m excited to get Malik,” Jones said Thursday after an OTA practice.

“I was excited to see that we had him,” Jones added of LSU’s rookie receiver.

“I’m excited that we got Malik and I’m looking forward to getting to work with him.”

Jones’s enthusiasm (which manifested itself more in his language than in his typically even-keeled disposition) was twofold. Sure, Nabers brings the Giants a dynamic weapon unlike the wide receiver rooms Jones worked with during his first five seasons in New York. A year after his first 1,000-yard season, Nabers caught 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final college campaign.

But also, the Giants’ selection of Nabers as a catcher simultaneously meant that the franchise No select a new premium capital quarterback. Head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen had met extensively with top 2024 quarterback prospects throughout the spring.

How did Jones feel about the Giants exploring quarterback replacements so seriously?

“Yeah, I mean, I wasn’t excited about it,” Jones said. “But I think that’s part of it at this level. What I can do is focus on myself and being healthy. Play the best football I can and that I know I’m capable of playing.

“That’s my job and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Jones heard the talk about the Giants’ interest in other QBs, including the franchise reportedly pursuing a trade with the New England Patriots to draft North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye third overall. The franchise did not inform him of his plans until they alerted him to Nabers’ selection.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how it was going to play out, so I was just watching and waiting to see like everyone else,” Jones said. “I don’t think you can take anything personally at this level. How exactly (the trade negotiations) happened and what happened, I’m not sure I know, I’m not sure you know.

“At the end of the day, I’m focused on playing football.”

It’s been nearly seven months since Jones tore his ACL. Since then, he has been cleared for individual drills, fly routes and seven-on-seven work.

Daboll declined to put a timetable on Jones’ return to full participation, including 11-on-11 drills and eventually live reps in training camp. The head coach said his “quarterback movement skills have been good” and Jones has “done a good job rehabbing.”

Jones said he has no movement restrictions during seven-on-seven work and doesn’t wear a brace to practice. His rehab program increases his workload weekly and he hopes to be ready for training camp. Backup quarterback Drew Lock took first-team snaps in 11-on-11 drills Wednesday.

“Obviously the goal is to be ready for the first day of training camp, but I’m going to work hard to be ready as soon as possible,” Jones said. “I’m pretty much where I expected to be. I think we’ve done a good job of adjusting the schedule based on what I can do and each week I can do a little more so the schedule can change or progress as I go.

“I feel good and I think I’m in a good place.”

Jones’ health and 2024 production will influence how the Giants handle their quarterback position next offseason.

In five seasons, Jones has completed 64.3% of his passes for 12,512 yards, 62 touchdowns and 40 interceptions en route to a 22-36-1 record as a starter. Jones’ career passer rating of 85.2 ranks 47th among 95 quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 pass attempts since he entered the league.

Jones recorded his best season in 2022, Daboll’s first year as head coach, when the Giants went 9-6-1 and then won a playoff game. Jones posted a 15-to-5 touchdown/interception ratio that season, his 1.1% interception percentage being the best in the league. Jones also added 708 yards and seven touchdowns rushing that year, showing off his mobility while he stayed healthy.

Jones played in only six games last season as a neck injury and torn ACL sidelined him. He completed 67.5% of his passes for 909 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions. The Giants won only one of those six, and the team then went 5-6 in his absence.

This will be Jones’ first season without star running back Saquon Barkley, who signed with the Eagles in free agency, although he will have Nabers. The team acquired veteran offensive linemen Jon Runyan and Jermaine Eluemunor this offseason to bolster a perennially poor front.

The Giants extended Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract in 2022, but structured the deal with an exit hatch after 2024. Jones’ contract includes no guarantees after this season and a manageable salary cap hit.

With his financial reality and the Giants’ approach to the 2024 NFL Draft, Jones knows there is a vision beyond him. He declined to confirm that he still feels the Giants are committed to him long-term.

“Ummmm, yeah, I mean, I feel good about where we’re going,” Jones said when asked. “I feel good with this team.

“My job is to get healthy and play good football.”

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