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Giants reportedly wanted this Daniel Jones replacement for 2023 season

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In a mailbag published on Tuesday, NFL insider Connor Hughes of SNY revealed that New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll had a replacement in mind for quarterback Daniel Jones long before the ongoing offseason. 

Specifically, Hughes said that Schoen and Daboll “wanted” C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans when they joined the Giants in January 2022. 

“That’s why they didn’t pick up his fifth-year option,” Hughes said about how the Giants viewed Jones roughly two years ago. 

Of course, Jones guided the 2022 Giants to a 9-7-1 regular-season record and a road playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings before he signed a new four-year contract with the club in March 2023. 

Meanwhile, Houston made Stroud the second overall pick of last year’s draft. He notched his first career playoff victory this past January and officially won the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award the following month. 

“They weren’t in a position to draft anyone of note organically and couldn’t trade up because they needed their draft assets to continue rounding out the roster,” Hughes added about how the Giants handled their quarterback situation last offseason. “That, essentially, is what Jones will have to do again this season. He needs to play so well that the Giants can’t acquire his replacement.”

Schoen and Daboll had at least some interest in moving up from the sixth overall pick of this year’s draft to land North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. The New England Patriots ultimately used that asset to take Maye, and it’s now widely believed that the Giants will start Jones over backup Drew Lock assuming Jones is ready for Week 1 coming off the torn right ACL he suffered on Nov. 5. 

“I have my doubts Lock can beat out even a semi-healthy Jones,” Hughes said about a potential quarterback controversy. “He’s not very good. But, at the very least, the Giants appear to be keeping their options open.”

Interestingly, Hughes also said that Jones’ “hard-lined, give-me-every-penny stance during contract talks rubbed many [within the Giants] the wrong way” before the signal-caller signed his deal ahead of last year’s draft. The situation was then made worse by Jones’ on-the-field struggles this past season and his worrisome injury history. 

Schoen and Co. seem prepared to escape Jones’ contract next offseason unless the 26-year-old enjoys a career year that includes at least another playoff appearance. Then again, Schoen could push for Daboll to play Lock this fall so that Jones’ salary for 2025 does not become guaranteed because of an injury.  

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