Daniel Jones has no more available excuses for not producing the goods. Entering his third year with the New York Giants' and with the team using all kinds of resources to improve the environment around him, Jones now needs to prove on the field that he can lead the Giants to the top.
This is a decisive year in Jones' career, as the Giants will take a decision next offseason about his future.
Five reasons why this year is so important to Daniel Jones:
#1 - Too much money invested in the offense
The Giants haven't refrained from investing heavily in offense in recent years. Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shephard, Nate Solder and Kyle Rudolph all cost a lot of money, and that's not even counting a Saquon Barkley extension, one who, considering Dave Gettleman's appreciation for Barkley, is surely coming.
New York has spent a lot of money on the offensive side of the ball in recent years and more expensive contracts are to come - it's no doubt a pretty talented offense. None of this will matter if Daniel Jones doesn't perform.
#2 - First-round picks
Just like the investment in free agency in recent years, the Giants' most recent first-round picks were all used looking for players that could help Jones' development. In 2020, with yet another top 5 pick, New York focused on Andrew Thomas to protect the quarterback; now, in 2021, Kadarius Toney came in at pick 20.
Here, the same free agency logic applies: it doesn't matter if you have high-quality offensive players - even with Thomas's disappointing rookie year - if the quarterback isn't able to run the system properly.
#3 - 2022 QB class
Another bad year for Jones will most likely result in another year away from the playoffs and with a high Draft pick. The 2022 quarterback class isn't as strong as the most recent, but there are still plenty of intriguing names that could skyrocket the boards with a good college season.
Sam Howell of UNC and Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma are the big names. Malik Willis, from Liberty, and Desmond Ridder, from Cincinnati, are outsiders and, with a bit of consistency, will also appear in the first round in 2022. There'll be plenty of options to replace Jones if he fails to deliver once again.
#4 - 5th-year option
After the 2021 season, the Giants have a huge decision to make: activate Daniel Jones' fifth-year contract option or not? The option goes far beyond financial terms: it's an accurate representation of how much a franchise trusts (or doesn't) a player.
New York is a team that won't have a healthy financial situation in the next few years. If Jones doesn't show a quality jump in 2021, the option won't be activated. From there, his tenure with the Giants becomes nearly impossible to continue.
#5 - Dave Gettleman fired?
Jones' biggest supporter, of course, is the general manager who drafted him. Dave Gettleman survived the last Black Monday unscathed and was given another shot at his job, even as the Giants failed to achieve a positive record in the three years of Gettleman making the decisions.
If Jones plays poorly, the domino effect will be strong: the team will likely miss the playoffs and, consequently, Gettleman will be fired. The new general manager will have no strings attached to the quarterback and will almost certainly look for a new leader for the franchise, ending Jones' stint in the Big Apple.