J.J. McCarthy Latest: Giants, Jones, Vikings, Patriots

Insistent they have not given up on Daniel Jones, the Giants have still put in plenty of work on drafting his potential replacement. Holding the No. 6 overall pick, the Giants may need to move up to land the passer of their choice.

One such passer may be losing steam with regards to being the target of a trade-up maneuver. The Giants do not appear to be in lockstep on being ready to trade up for J.J. McCarthy, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano tweets. The Giants have met with McCarthy and put him through a separate workout.

They been linked to the Michigan passer for a while, but it is possible — barring, of course, a smokescreen effort is in the works — the extensive homework has led to the team determining the fast-rising QB is not who they would want. On the subject of smokescreens, multiple late-March reports point to the Giants indeed being interested in McCarthy. One suggested many around the NFL believe the ex-Wolverines standout would be Big Blue’s target.

This Giants pre-draft process, from Jones’ murky future to their QB-or-WR decision, has become quite confusing. Vacchiano expects the Giants to stay at No. 6 and draft a wide receiver; they brought in this class’ top three options for visits in March.

Recent ties to Drake Maye have come out of New York, and it is possible the team has the North Carolina prospect — who has resided on or near the top QB tier much longer than McCarthy — graded higher. Adding to this, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said recently (h/t Big Blue View) if the Vikings are not the McCarthy team near the top of the draft, he does not necessarily know who would be.

The Vikings, of course, would need to trade up from No. 11 to move within striking distance of this draft’s top QBs. They appear ready to do so. Minnesota’s desired QB is not known, though GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said the team would be OK with multiple options in this draft, calling this a “very deep class.” The Vikings, however, only have a placeholder QB — in Sam Darnold — while the Giants have Jones signed through 2026.

Year 1 of Jones’ second contract went poorly, even before the ACL tear, leading to this exhaustive research effort on locating a potential replacement. The Giants can break free of Jones’ contract with less than $12MM in dead money — in the event of a post-June 1 cut — next year. While Giants GM Joe Schoen called a report of the team having Jones buyer’s remorse “not true,” Jeremiah added during a recent TV appearance he believes the Giants are doing entirely too much work on QBs for the team to be committed to Jones moving forward.

Jeremiah suggested a Patriots-Giants swap, indicating the Patriots — who are believed to be high on McCarthy — could get what they want by moving down. That said, the Pats sliding from 3 to 6 would leave them vulnerable to missing out on the draft’s top four arms. The Cardinals and Chargers have both indicated they are open to trading out of Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, and Los Angeles has already entered talks about moving down. This complicates matters for the QB-needy (or QB-curious, in the Giants’ case) teams outside the top four.

Coming off a national championship, McCarthy has seen his accuracy, leadership and run in Jim Harbaugh‘s pro-style system move him up the board during the pre-draft process. Though, he has also been docked for lower-octane numbers when compared to the other QBs at or near the top of the 2024 crop. It still seems like McCarthy will end up on the Patriots, Giants, Vikings or Broncos, as Jeremiah does not see him sliding past No. 12 (Denver’s slot). But the Giants may not be the favorite to come away from this draft with the 21-year-old prospect.

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