While Daniel Jones‘ injury placed the Giants in the unexpected position to target a high-end replacement in the 2024 draft, the team only moved into realistic range for such an aspiration due to Tyrod Taylor‘s absence. Taylor’s rib injury left Tommy DeVito as the last man standing for the Giants, who have sunk to 2-8 during the rookie UDFA’s time at the controls.
DeVito will make another start in Week 11, but the Giants are not closing the book on Taylor. The veteran backup said he does not expect this rib ailment to end his season, and ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan notes the second-year Giants QB2 appears likely to return following the team’s Week 13 bye.
The Giants placed Taylor on IR before their Week 9 game, meaning Week 14 will be the earliest he can return. The injury led to the 13th-year veteran being hospitalized, and it brought back memories of the injection snafu in Los Angeles, which ushered in Justin Herbert in September 2020. Taylor resurfaced with the Texans in 2021, opening the season as the rebuilding team’s starter while Deshaun Watson began a full season as a healthy scratch. Taylor, 34, has settled onto the backup tier. And his Giants contract expires at season’s end. But he could suddenly be an X-factor in the race for the 2024 top picks.
NFL teams do not make a habit of framing stretch runs around tanking for draft positioning, a process that impacts NBA lottery teams’ plans annually. But clubs do rest veterans at points. The Jaguars sat rookie-year dynamo James Robinson late in the 2020 season, and the Bears rested Justin Fields in Week 18 of last season. Both teams ended up securing the No. 1 overall pick the following year.
The most memorable tanking act in recent NFL history affected the Giants, as the Eagles pulled Jalen Hurts during a competitive Week 17 game against Washington. Doug Pederson inserting Nate Sudfeld effectively ended Philly’s effort to win, thus handing Washington the NFC East title. With a 6-10 Giants team in the strange position of being on the cusp of the playoffs with a Washington loss, Raanan adds team brass was understandably not happy with how the Eagles proceeded that night. Philly ended up with the No. 6 overall pick, which it traded to Miami for a 2022 first-rounder.
The difference in the Giants’ offensive capabilities with Taylor (56 career starts) at the helm vs. DeVito certainly stands to be impactful enough it will be a storyline to monitor over the season’s final five weeks. If the season ended today, the Giants would hold the No. 2 overall pick. GM Joe Schoen was recently spotted at a USC-Washington game earlier this month.
Although the guarantees in the Giants’ Jones four-year, $160MM Jones extension will leave the team no choice but to keep him in 2024, the club is not expected to pass on drafting Caleb Williams or Drake Maye if the opportunity presents itself in April. That will leave the Giants with a big-picture decision: keep playing DeVito (or one of their other bottom-end QBs) or activate Taylor off IR despite the latter not being in the team’s long-term plans.
As Jones will be back in 2024, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan adds Taylor is likely to be too pricey for the Giants next year (subscription required). Taylor signed a two-year, $11MM deal in 2022, helping the Giants rectify the mistake they made in replacing 2020 QB2 Colt McCoy with Mike Glennon. It would seem the Giants will have a call to make following their bye week, but as of now, Taylor is on track to be back on the 53-man roster in December.