Giants owner John Mara gives the quarterback the go-ahead
Giants owner John Mara gives the quarterback the go-ahead

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Despite signing Daniel Jones to a $160 million deal last year, New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll have the green light from ownership to bring in a quarterback if they wish.

The Giants currently hold the sixth pick in a particularly strong quarterback draft.

“If they fall in love with a quarterback and believe it’s worth picking No. 6 or moving up, I’d certainly support that,” owner John Mara said Monday at the NFL owners’ meetings.

Schoen has already made it clear the team is at least looking at the quarterbacks with the high pick and Jones, who is out for the season with two serious injuries. He is currently rehabbing a torn ACL. The Giants have already visited Michigan’s JJ McCarthy and North Carolina’s Drake May. Schoen was at Caleb Williams’ pro day last week at USC along with director of player personnel Tim McDonnell. Meanwhile, assistant general manager Brandon Brown and quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney were at McCarthy’s pro day in Ann Arbor.

“I know they’re looking at the quarterbacks. You’ve seen that,” Mara said. “They went to some of the pro days, we had some of those guys. I don’t think they’re even close to making a final decision yet on how we’re going to proceed. Those discussions will take place over the next few weeks.”

Mara said he was told by the front office that this was “the most talented group [of quarterbacks] to come out in years.”

No matter how it plays out, the expectation remains that Jones will be the Giants’ Week 1 starter, assuming he’s healthy. Schoen said Monday that Jones began running on land and there were no setbacks.

Mara was adamant that he still believes in Jones. The Giants owner looked at why the 2023 season, when Jones threw just two touchdown passes, was such a disaster. He noted the injuries, their inability to block and the overall lack of offensive talent on the field. In his estimation, this makes the situation untenable.

Even if the Giants sign a quarterback this year, Mara doesn’t see it as giving up on Jones.

“No, I don’t think so,” Mara said. “Why don’t we let them both compete? Let them both compete and let the better one win.”

It says something about Giants ownership that they’re even willing to potentially go down that road. They have committed $82 million guaranteed and will receive $22 million in dead money if they waive Jones after this season.

Mara insists that she won’t influence their decision.

“I don’t think there’s any effect if they have a quarterback conviction and fall in love with a quarterback,” he said. “I certainly won’t get in their way.

This is all hypothetical at this stage. It’s possible the Giants may not even get the quarterback they want in this draft. Schoen referenced a comment made by Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh earlier in the day when the former Michigan coach noted that the first four picks could be quarterbacks. That’s likely Williams, LSU’s Jaden Daniels, May and McCarthy. That would leave the Chargers at No. 5 and the Giants at No. 6 in enviable shape.

The general belief right now is that the top three picks, belonging to the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, will be quarterbacks. Schoen didn’t buy into the idea that none of those picks were for sale.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “No one is slamming the door. I think everyone will listen.”

Schoen mentioned that the possibility remains for the Giants to move up, back or stay at No. 6. Everything is on the table.

It will be his and Dabol’s decision. In fact, Mara took offense at the idea that he was a meddling owner.

“I left it up to the general manager and the head coach to make a roster. We have been working the same way for many years here,” he said. “If they have beliefs about a player, I won’t interfere. I will ask them about it. I will make them defend their position. But the only time I’ll step in and exert any influence is if I think it’s an off-field behavior problem. And this has happened. Not with the group, but in the past on very rare occasions.

“From a player evaluation standpoint, if they have convictions about a player and they want to pick him, take one in free agency, then all I want to do is make sure they’re both on the same page.”

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