Most of the attention on the Giants’ quarterbacks room this offseason has been focused upon Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in April’s draft, and Eli Manning, the 38-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP. But as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, the battle to be Big Blue’s third QB is expected to become quite heated once training camp opens next month.
Jones was able to quiet some of the negative chatter surrounding him with an impressive spring, and Schwartz says that if the Giants are convinced the Duke product will be able to step in for Manning whenever he’s called upon — and OC Mike Shulahas already expressed that level of confidence in Jones — then the club may elect to keep just two signal-callers and send both Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney packing.
Between an October arrest and a poor professional debut, Lauletta, a 2018 fourth-round pick, has dug himself into a bit of a hole. Although Lauletta is just 24 and had enough upside to merit a mid-round selection from the Giants’ new regime, Schwartz says that the 31-year-old Tanney — who has played a total of one game in his professional career, which came in 2015 — is the current favorite to stick around. After all, New York signed Tanney to a two-year, $2.1MM contract with $775K guaranteed this offseason, which was a fairly telling show of faith.
Tanney has learned several offensive systems in his career and is a quick study, so the Giants see him as a better complement to Manning and Jones. Even though waiving Lauletta just one year after drafting him would not be a good look for the Giants’ front office or coaching staff, New York can’t worry about that just now.
And although it would be shocking if Jones were named the starter to open the season, there are already some rumblings that the Giants should do just that. If Jones builds on his spring performance with a strong training camp, Schwartz suggests the gap between the rookie and the 15-year year vet could close.
The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential.
This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.
Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.
The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.
The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.
Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.
While this offseason did not bring quite the same level of quarterback movement 2018’s did, a handful of teams will deploy new starters. Draft choices, trade acquisitions and free agent signings will be given the keys to offenses that struggled last season.
The Broncos, Cardinals, Dolphins, Jaguars and Redskins made moves to fortify their quarterback jobs. Which team’s investment will work out best?
Denver will use a different starting quarterback for the third straight year. Joe Flacco is set to be the Broncos’ fourth starter since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. While his QBR figure (58.7) was better than any the former Ravens starter had posted since a quality 2014 season, Flacco still ranked 20th in that metric last season. Having never made a Pro Bowl and fresh off back-to-back years featuring injury trouble, with a back problem limiting him during the 2017 offseason and a hip injury beginning the Lamar Jackson era, the 34-year-old starter will try to revive his career in Denver. Flacco, though, is the most accomplished quarterback the Broncos have employed since Manning.
The other surefire veteran starter acquired this year, Foles will have his first chance to be a team’s unquestioned first-stringer since 2015. The 30-year-old flourished in his second Philadelphia stint, submitting an all-time postseason run in 2017 and helping the Eagles back to the playoffs last season. A 2013 Pro Bowler, Foles will take over a Jaguars team that does not possess the kind of aerial weaponry recent Eagles rosters did. Jacksonville is in line to have Marqise Lee back from a torn ACL, but the team’s wideouts and tight ends will place additional emphasis on Foles living up to his contract. With the Rams in 2015, Foles threw seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions before being benched.
Kyler Murray represents the other locked-in starter added this offseason. The electric one-year Oklahoma starter accomplished about as much as a college passer can in a single season, turning in Division I-FBS’ second-ever 4,000-1,000 season en route to Heisman Trophy honors. Working with Kliff Kingsbury, Larry Fitzgerald and a host of young wide receivers, Murray is the centerpiece of one of the most daring experiments an NFL team has attempted.
The Cardinals turned the keys over to a sub-.500 college coach and a 5-foot-10 signal-caller — the first sub-6-foot passer to be chosen in Round 1. Arizona trotted out the league’s worst scoring and total offense last season, however, and sported a skeleton-crew offensive line by year’s end. The Cards added new starters Marcus Gilbert and J.R. Sweezy up front. Due to the lack of precedent behind this move, it is hard to tell how Murray will fare. But the unique talent has opened as Las Vegas’ offensive rookie of the year favorite.
Washington and Miami have not committed to a starting quarterback yet, but it is fairly safe to project Dwayne Haskins and Josh Rosen will see extensive time. While Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick could log starts, with the latter possibly even on track to do so, the Redskins have liked what their first-round pick has done so far and the Dolphins will need to see Rosen in games to help determine if they will consider a first-round QB in 2020. On the heels of a 50-touchdown pass season, the Ohio State product sits second in offensive rookie of the year odds. Although only eight passers have won this award since 1957, seven such instances have occurred since 2004.
Both Daniel Jones and Drew Lock could factor into their respective teams’ mixes later in the season. Of the 13 first-round QBs taken over the past four years, only Patrick Mahomes and Paxton Lynch were not promoted to the starting role as rookies. (Though, Eli Manning is not your typical stopgap.) Lock was projected by most as a first-rounder, and Flacco ceded his role to the No. 32 overall pick last year. So the 12th-year veteran’s grip on Denver’s job should be considered tenuous.
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Falcons front office exec Scott Pioli raised some eyebrows when he suddenly resigned the other day. Pioli had been an assistant GM and top lieutenant to GM Thomas Dimitroff, so it was a pretty significant departure. Pioli was the Chiefs’ general manager for four seasons before being canned, and he joined the Falcons in 2014. Rumors swirled about the circumstances surrounding his departure and whether he was forced out, but Pioli is insisting nothing happened. In an interview with Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Pioli said “I’m fine. My family is fine. This was my choice and it’s just time. Time for what, I don’t know, yet,” he said somewhat cryptically.
Dimitroff backed up Pioli’s account, and said his resignation wasn’t to take another specific job. Still, it’s interesting timing considering recent reports that Arthur Blank, the Falcons’ owner, is getting restless with the direction of the franchise. Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn are under a lot of pressure to win in 2019, and if they don’t deliver they could be joining Pioli on the open market after the season. With his experience running a team, it’s possible Pioli could be a candidate for future GM openings.
Here’s more from around the NFC:
Many members of the 2016 draft class are getting ready to sign extensions. One first round pick from that class who isn’t preparing for that is Lions left tackle Taylor Decker. Decker has battled injuries and inconsistency since Detroit took him with the 16th overall pick a few years ago, and knows he needs to show out the next couple of seasons. “In my mind, I’m going to play two more years before that’s going to happen,” Decker said, referring to a new contract, per Nate Atkins of MLive.com. The Lions recently exercised the fifth-year option on Decker, meaning he’s under team control through the 2020 season. Atkins writes that the team’s current plan is “waiting and seeing” with Decker, and that they aren’t completely sold on him. Decker has been solid but not spectacular during his time on the field, and his development will be very interesting to monitor in 2019.
The conventional wisdom is that the Giants are 100 percent committed to Eli Manning as their starter in 2019, and quite possibly beyond. But in a recent piece, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com argues that Daniel Jones could be given the chance to supplant Manning before the season even begins. That would be in direct contrast with Giants brass’ stated intentions to sit and develop the sixth overall pick, but crazier things have happened. Florio writes that the “team’s hope that this happens could be hiding in plain sight,” referring to the potential for Jones to shine during training camp and the preseason and force them into playing him right away. It’s still very unlikely to happen, but it’s possible Manning’s place atop the depth chart isn’t quite as secure as everyone is assuming.
The Packers have had a drama-filled offseason. Various media reports have detailed extensive dysfunction in the organization during the final days of the Mike McCarthy era, and Aaron Rodgers has feuded publicly with old teammates like Greg Jennings. Green Bay is looking to put all the drama behind them this season, and seem to be very excited about starting fresh with new coach Matt LaFleur. Those around the team are hoping that LaFleur will provide some desperately needed energy to the team, and will help push and revitalize Rodgers.
Apparently the Packers weren’t willing to cede too much control to the first-time head coach however. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that LaFleur “wasn’t the sole decision-maker” when it came to filling out his coaching staff. “Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was not forced on LaFleur, but the new coach was strongly encouraged to keep him,” Silverstein writes, and it sounds like other assistant coaching decisions may not have been left up to LaFleur. Team president Mark Murphy has strongly denied that LaFleur wasn’t allowed to pick his own staff.
Silverstein points out that the Packers currently have a chaotic power structure with LaFleur, GM Brian Gutekunst, and director of football operations Russ Ball all reporting directly to Murphy, and many in the organization worry that’s a dynamic that is going to lead to dysfunction. This isn’t a great start for LaFleur’s tenure, but winning a few games early on will make all of this worry go away pretty quickly.
Here’s more from the NFC:
The Giants plan on Eli Manning being their starter in 2019, they’ve made that very clear. But if he were thrust into action, New York’s coaching staff is already confident that sixth overall pick Daniel Jones would be ready to go from day one. “I think he’d be ready to go, that’s my personal opinion,” Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula said when asked if Jones could be an instant starter in the league, per Tom Rock of Newsday. “I think he has that capability.” Defensive coordinator James Bettcher also had high praise for the rookie signal-caller after watching him take part in rookie minicamp. The selection of Jones was widely criticized as a reach, but the Giants’ coaching staff seems quite happy with their pick, for now.
Speaking of the Giants,the team signed offensive lineman Mike Remmers earlier today, and now we have details on the contract. It’s a one-year deal with a base value of $2.5MM, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). If he meets some play-time incentives, the value of the deal can increase to $4MM. Remmers started all 16 games at right guard for the Vikings last year, but his agent confirmed the Giants will be moving him back to right tackle, his original position. The Giants have put an emphasis on rebuilding their offensive line, and as of right now it looks like Remmers will be a starter on the outside opposite Nate Solder.
We heard all the way back in March that the Falcons were nearing a deal on an extension with Julio Jones, and then nothing ever materialized. Jones held out briefly last offseason because he’s severely underpaid at the moment, and all indications have been they would get a deal done this year, but there hasn’t been much progress recently. Jones stayed away from the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, but things still appear to be headed in the right direction. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said today he’s “very encouraged” by the talks he’s had with Jones’ agent, per Jeff Schultz of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Both parties are in a good place. There’s no timeline but I’m not worried. Julio will be around while we’re working on it,” he continued. In a separate tweet, Schutlz writes that Dimitroff said Jones will be at this year’s mandatory minicamp after skipping it last year, and Jones could even participate in some voluntary OTAs coming up.
Roger Goodell uttering the name “Daniel Jones” served as perhaps the most shocking moment of the draft, and the decision that led to the commissioner reading that card did not come easy for the Giants.
Dave Gettleman had another name in mind, in the event the Giants felt their short-term need at defensive end was too great to ignore at No. 6. The second-year Giants GM said (via NBC Sports’ Peter King) the decision to bypass Josh Allen for Jones was “agonizing.”
“I agonized over that,” Gettleman said. “I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”
Gettleman said post-draft he knew of two teams that would have taken Jones before the Giants’ No. 17 pick. The Jaguars snapped up Allen at No. 7, doing so despite not expecting the Kentucky edge rusher to be there. Jacksonville was expecting to make a decision between T.J. Hockenson and Jonah Williams, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting Hockenson was the Jags’ likely pick had the Giants gone with Allen as many expected. After the Jags’ Allen pivot, the Lions took Hockenson at No. 8.
The Giants have possessed three top-six picks since 2004, the first of those leading to Eli Manning and the second producing Saquon Barkley. Gettleman did not indicate last year he had any kind of debate between choosing Barkley or Sam Darnold. A year later, the Giants GM said his team might not have another near-future chance to grab a top quarterback prospect without sacrificing plenty in a trade, helping lead the Giants to Jones this year.
“There are no guarantees. So the bottom line is, if you believe this kid can get you to the promised land, why wait?” Gettleman said, via Breer. “You have to have confidence in what you’re doing. You’re drafting players. The team will be better. Now, what happens next year? What if you don’t take him this year, and next year you’re picking 22? You’re going to have to move heaven and earth. This is the closest we’re going to get. It made the most sense.”
The Giants did not leave Manning in the dark about the Jones decision. He called the Giants’ 16th-year quarterback while on the clock at No. 6. Gettleman said Manning could potentially be Big Blue’s starter for multiple additional seasons.
“I was on the phone with Eli. I told him, ‘You’re our quarterback, let’s go,'” Gettleman said, via Breer. “And by the way, we’re drafting the Jones kid, and your job is to be the best quarterback you can be and help us win. It’s his responsibility to crawl up your fanny and learn.”
On Saturday, the Chargers drafted their first quarterback since 2013 when they tapped North Dakota State University quarterback Easton Stick. Stick, who rushed for 2,523 yards and 41 TDs, was pegged by some as a Taysom Hill type who could be deployed more as a trick play type than a traditional QB, but the Bolts say that’s not how they plan on using him.
“He’s going to play quarterback for us. We have running backs,” head coach Anthony Lynn said (via the Associated Press). “We don’t a need a quarterback that can run all over the place, but he can certainly create when he has to.”
Of course, as a fifth-round pick, nothing is guaranteed for the mobile signal caller. Stick will look to stick on the Chargers’ roster by proving himself between now and the start of the season in September.
Here’s more from the AFC West:
Giants GM Dave Gettleman raised eyebrows everywhere when he selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. After the draft, he defended the pick by saying that two teams were prepared to select Jones before the Giants’ next pick at No. 17. So far, it has been hard to identify who these two teams might be, and Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter) confirms that the Broncos were not one of them. The Broncos, he hears, ruled out taking any QB at No. 10 overall and, furthermore, had Drew Lock as their top-ranked QB – not Jones.
The Raiders provided the draft’s other major first round surprise when they tapped Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Many feel that the Raiders reached for the defensive end, but that’s not how defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sees it. “It wasn’t about his 40-time or his three-cone drill or any of that [BS], it was about the whole package,” the DC said (via The Athletic). “There just aren’t a lot of guys like this. Some guys are great standing up, but you have to get down and dirty in the NFL. They are not just going to let you run up the field all day, you know what I am saying? Then you hear him talk and you’re like, ‘Damn, this guy is a pro.’”
Giants GM Dave Gettleman has already dealt with plenty of criticism for selecting Duke QB Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick of this year’s draft. We heard on Friday that Gettleman may have been concerned that the Redskins — who held the No. 15 overall pick — were going to nab Jones, which forced him to take the former Blue Devil at No. 6 rather than wait until the Giants were on the clock again at No. 17.
And as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets, Gettleman says he knows for a fact that at least two teams would have taken Jones between pick nos. 6 and 17. Those two teams, according to Vacchiano’s sources, are the Redskins and Broncos.
However, ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweets that the Redskins were never going to draft Jones, and Russini says the Broncos were not interested in Jones either. Mike Klis of 9News tweets that Denver was not going to take any QB with its No. 10 overall selection, and that Drew Lockwas the team’s top-rated quarterback. Klis says the Broncos were considering a trade into the back end of the first round to take Lock, but Jones was not on the radar at No. 10.
Of course, other clubs, like the Bengals (No. 11) or Dolphins (No. 13), could have been in the market for Jones in the first round, but it appears that the top two purported threats to Gettleman’s favorite QB weren’t threats at all.
If Jones ultimately is successful with Big Blue, this will all become an amusing footnote to the story of his career. But if he’s not, Gettleman will have a major blemish on his run as the team’s GM.
The Giants chose Jones at No. 6, prompted plenty of scrutiny. New York took the Duke-developed passer earlier than most expected because of concerns Washington or another team would swoop in before the team’s No. 17 overall pick, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports.
While teams between Nos. 6 and 17 worried the Giants, they also feared the Redskins would trade in front of them — with either the Jets or the Raiders — at 6 to select Jones, per Vacchiano. Potential Bengals and Dolphins interest in Jones also influenced the Giants to act quicker than expected on a quarterback.
The Giants are still planning to start Eli Manning in 2019, and Dave Gettleman said the longtime starter may keep his job into next season. While Manning’s contract expires after 2019, he has said he plans to play in 2020. The Giants have also indicated they would not mind having him back next season. But Jones is now the heir apparent, and having chosen him at No. 6 overall, the Giants are still in need of an edge rusher entering Day 2 of the draft.
New York left Josh Allen on the board to take Jones and took defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17. An outside linebacker likely resides as the Giants’ top need as of Friday afternoon.
In fact, it could be a long time before Jones sees the field. After the draft, Gettleman was asked about his plans for Jones and indicated that the team will take an ultra-patient approach to his development.
“Maybe we’re going the Green Bay model,” Gettleman said. “Where [Aaron] Rodgers sat for three years. Who knows? You can never have too many good players at one position.”
When pressed further, Gettleman gave a puzzling response.
“Who knows?” the GM said. “I might go out to my car and get hit. … You don’t know. We drafted a quarterback that we believe is a franchise quarterback.”