The Giants‘ decision to take Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick was biggest surprise of the 2019 NFL Draft. Yes, New York desperately needed a quarterback — Eli Manning is 38 and has been replacement level in recent years — but Jones was widely considered the No. 3 or No. 4 quarterback in the class behind Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and possibly Drew Lock.
So you might understand the blowback, in equal parts from Giants fans and the media, when the team didn’t let Jones get past the sixth pick.
“In three years, we’ll find out how crazy I am,” general manager Dave Gettleman told NBC Sports’ Peter King days after selecting Jones. … “The bottom line is, I have confidence in what I do and who I am. I’ve been a part of organizations that had pretty good quarterbacks — Jim Kelly, John Elway, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning, Cam Newton. I’ve led a charmed life with the quarterbacks on the teams I’ve worked for. I know what good ones look like. The other thing is, résumés matter. Every once in a while, I wish the people taking the shots would take a minute to look at my résumé. I’ve been a part of teams that went to seven Super Bowls. I had a hand in some of them. But today, there’s no patience. And there’s no room for civil discourse in our society, which I find sad.”
Gettleman added that, “Maybe we’re going to be the Green Bay model, where Rodgers sat for three years — who knows?”
Now it’s more than a month later, and by most accounts Jones has outplayed Manning during offseason workouts, making it hard to envision a situation where he finds himself holding a clipboard for the next three years. In fact, it seems much more likely that his role could change after three games, if not sooner.
Coach Pat Shurmur, however, wasn’t tipping his hand. He was asked after Tuesday’s practice if we’re headed for a quarterback competition in training camp.
“I think we’re going to play the very best player,” Shurmur said, via NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. “I know we’re dancing around the words there. Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel is getting ready to play. We’ll see what happens with it. We feel good about where Eli is. He’s our starting quarterback. And we’ve got a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player who is getting himself ready to play.”
Manning may be planning for a great year but the reality is that he hasn’t been good since the 2014 season. A year ago he ranked 22nd in total value among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders‘ metrics. That was behind Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco and Mitch Trubisky. From 2015-17 he never ranked higher than 18th; in 2014 he ranked 11th.
Just to be clear, does Shurmur view this as an open competition?
“We’re playing around the words again,” he said. “I’m not trying to be cryptic about it. It is what I just said it is. Eli is getting ready to have an outstanding year and Daniel is getting ready to play.”
When asked to describe the situation, Shurmur offered this: “Eli is getting ready to have an outstanding year and Daniel is getting ready to play. At least in my mind that’s very clear. It doesn’t appear that it is because I’m getting a lot of follow-up [questions]. That’s OK. I don’t want to be cryptic.”
The coach added: “The players that give our team the best chance to win [will] play. Period. We’ve seen Eli do that for a long time. We’ll see what happens as we go down the road. You never know what’s going to happen.”