Hey guys: The Giants are 2-0 for the first time in years; in fact, they are currently one of just 5 unbeaten teams in NFL. They have their hated rivals the Dallas Cowboys coming in for a Monday night game next week without their star QB. And what is my inbox full of? Emails from Giants’ fans asking essentially ‘if it’s time to strike while the iron is hot?’ and trade away Saquon Barkley. And I think WTF! The Giants are playing what is in essence their first really meaningful game in almost 5 full seasons and all everybody wants to do is trade away their best player.
Have really been pondering about this for the past couple of days and I really wonder if the fan base, or at least that part that emails me, is missing the point. Or maybe fighting the last war! I believe (and I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to sports I am an eternal optimist so there is that) that this team IS actually pretty close to being in a position to compete. They probably aren’t going to win the Super Bowl this year; they likely even won’t get that close. At the same time, though, barring some major debilitating injuries, there is no reason to believe the Giants won’t be at least in the chase for a playoff spot. And you can’t win the Super Bowl if you do not make the playoffs. Then you try and keep building around the emerging core you’ve already got and go from there.
The Giants have the makings of a pretty good defense that hopefully will get even better with the return of their top two ERs. In fact, with Ojulari, Thibo, Williams, Lawrence, and Ward the Giants should have one of the better defensive fronts in the league. They’ve also got some good young playmakers at the safety positions and a solid #1 corner in Jackson. Obviously, they’ll still be holding their breath a little at the other corners and they could really use a LB that can run, but the base of a pretty good defense is in place.
Offensively, the Giants have one of the better sets of young bookend OTs. They also have one the league’s two best RBs who doubles as one of the best big-play impact players at any offensive position in the league. In fact, I think you can make a pretty compelling case that right now the Giants are a couple of good receivers away from being a really competitive team. And if I’m Joe Schoen I am not thinking about selling, I’m a buyer looking to upgrade my receiver situation.
Which brings us back around to Daniel Jones. He’s completing over 70% of his passes and is in the top ten in QB efficiency, but other than that hasn’t been very good. Sigh! You just can’t be both!
Fact is that if the Giants did want to draft a new QB this year then they don’t trade Barkley (well that too) but they trade Jones. Given that in his last 24 starts the Giants are 12-12 it’s not hard to figure that, barring a major injury to Jones, the Giants are probably going to win at least somewhere around 7-8 games the rest of the way this year, especially against their schedule. And that is going to have them drafting pretty close to the middle of the opening round and good luck trying to find the next great QB drafting 15th. I suppose it happens, but like once every couple of decades. I personally just don’t see any way short of trading away your next 2-3 drafts to move up to get one of the top guys even if that’s possible.
In the end, it may very well end up that Jones IS the Giants guy for the next 2-3 years. If he ultimately only is a game-manager then you have him manage the game because right now I don’t see a whole lot of options to replace him with anybody with really good odds to be better. It’s also possible that if the Giants did decide they needed someone better at QB that they go the LA Rams route and look to trade for an established starter rather than throw the dice on a draftee who is going to take a couple of years to develop at which time most of your solid veterans like Williams and Jackson are likely to be gone and your core young guys like Ojulari, Lawrence, McKinney, and Thomas will all coming up on free agency and will be tough to resign. And you won’t have had the chance to replace many of them because you traded away all your picks to get the QB.
I was watching the Chiefs-Chargers game last week and marvelled at how good Mahomes and Herbert are. One thing that struck me too though was how good their receivers are. Herbert, for example, has had Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as prime targets from the first day he arrived in LA. Daniel Jones’ prime targets since he’s been here have been Darius Slayton and Even Engram. I am not even going to try and compare Jones to the likes of Mahomes or Herbert. I just don’t believe that anyone really knows what Jones’ so-called ‘ceiling’ actually is when all he has ever had to work with is THE worst receiving corps in the league and maybe one of the worst in the modern history of the league.
In the meantime, I’m having trouble breathing waiting for Monday night.