National Football League
Daniel Jones 'wasn't fired up' about Giants' QB flirtations in the NFL Draft
National Football League

Daniel Jones 'wasn't fired up' about Giants' QB flirtations in the NFL Draft

Updated May. 23, 2024 4:00 p.m. ET

Daniel Jones knew what the New York Giants were trying to do on the first night of the 2024 NFL Draft. He knew they were attempting to trade up and draft his eventual successor. They were honest about their intentions. He understood why it was happening.

But that doesn't mean he was happy about it.

"I mean, I wasn't fired up about it," Jones said after practice on Thursday afternoon. "But I think it's part of it at this level. What I can do is focus on myself and getting healthy, play the best football I can play, and that I know I'm capable of playing. That's my job and that's what I'm going to do."

That's pretty much all the Giants' incumbent starting quarterback can do at the moment, as he continues to work his way back from the torn ACL he suffered early last season. That injury, along with two injuries to his neck in three seasons, is a big reason why the Giants had their eyes on quarterbacks in the draft. It didn't help that in the six games Jones did play last season, he was mostly awful.


It was no secret that Giants general manager Joe Schoen spent the offseason scouting, researching and visiting with all the top quarterbacks in the draft while Jones was busy trying to get healthy. And in the days leading up to the first round, Schoen made multiple attempts to trade up from the Giants' pick at No. 6, according to team and league sources, in the hopes of landing Drake Maye, the quarterback who was selected third overall by the New England Patriots.

Once that effort failed, the Giants stayed at 6 where they could have taken a quarterback like J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. Instead, they grabbed receiver Malik Nabers — the kind of weapon Jones, who turns 27 on Monday, hasn't had at any point in his five-year career.

"I wasn't sure what was going to happen or how it was going to play out. I was just watching and waiting to see like everybody else," Jones said. "But I'm fired up to get Malik. I watched some of his tape in college. He's a dynamic, dynamic player."

Nabers could be exactly what Jones needs to jumpstart his career and win back the full trust of the Giants organization. The quarterback might only be entering the second year of the four-year, $160 million deal he signed in March 2023, but Schoen's flirtation with Maye made it clear that he's at least open to the idea of replacing Jones in the near future.

A poor season by Jones would almost certainly force the Giants' hand. They can get out of his contract after the season and absorb only a $22.2 million hit in "dead money." And if Jones struggles, the Giants will likely be picking high enough in the 2025 draft to consider the available quarterbacks again.

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They could do that anyway, even if Jones plays well. When asked if he felt like the Giants were committed to him for the long-term, Jones didn't really answer. He said only "I feel good about where we're going. I feel good about this team. My job is to get healthy and play good football."

If nothing else, he does seem to be on his way towards getting healthy. He is a limited participant in the Giants' offseason practices. He took snaps in the 7-on-7 drills with the media in attendance on Thursday. That's all he's cleared to do, though. His new backup, Drew Lock, got the first-team reps when the drills switched to 11-on-11.

Six months after undergoing surgery on his right knee, Jones said he "feels good" and that his rehab process has been "smooth" and on schedule. He said he's pushing to be fully cleared by the start of training camp in late July and when asked if he expects to be ready for the regular-season opener in September, he said "I don't have any doubt about it right now."

Beyond that, though, there are plenty of doubts on the outside about just how long Jones will remain the Giants' franchise quarterback. And even though he insisted he wasn't bothered by the Giants' wandering eyes — "I don't think you can take anything personally at this level," he said — he understands the situation he's facing.

And he knows what he has to do.

"I always feel like I have a lot to prove," Jones said. "I'm motivated, I'm doing everything I can to be ready to go."

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.


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