Perspective is a good thing most days. It can also be dangerous.
Schoen made his decision, giving Jones a four-year, $160 million extension based on what he saw in 2022. Jones had a great season compared to his previous three years. The ’19 first-round pick threw for a career-high 3,205 yards and a career-low five interceptions. It was a vast improvement, and therefore Jones was signed and Barkley was tagged.
The problem? Perspective. While the year was terrific for Jones, it was mediocre by normal measures. Jones ranked 15th in passing yards, tied for 23rd in yards per attempt (6.8) and tied for 27th in yards per completion (10.1). He also finished 16th in success rate (45.7%).
And while rushing for 708 yards last year was impressive, it’s not justification for an expensive, long-term pact.
Early on in 2023, Jones has been bad. His supporting cast, especially his offensive line, has been equally awful.
Both issues were on full display Monday night in a 24–3 loss to the Seahawks, punctuated by a hideous 97-yard pick-six by rookie corner Devon Witherspoon. Jones was also sacked 11 times, one shy of the NFL record for a single game.
Outside of the second half of a wild 31–28 win over the Cardinals in Week 2, Jones has done almost nothing this season. Removing those 30 minutes, he has thrown for 506 yards on 4.5 yards per attempt with zero touchdowns against six interceptions this season.
Jones also fails to stress defenses. He came into Week 4 having thrown only 11 passes of 10 air yards or more. The Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa had 11 such throws in Week 1 alone.
Of course, the protection has also been a disaster. The Giants have allowed an absurd 23 sacks. Only the Commanders have surrendered more. Some have been on Jones, but many have been immediate with multiple breakdowns across the front.
Still, the contract changes the calculus for Jones. He must be a leading reason for victory, not someone who simply avoids losing.
And, yet, the early failures for Big Blue aren’t solely on Jones. They’re also on Schoen, who failed to put any new, significant talent around him.
New York has a star left tackle in Andrew Thomas and a fantastic running back in the aforementioned Barkley. Otherwise, it’s a mishmash of average-to-substandard talent.
This spring, Schoen made moves to upgrade the unit. New York selected center John Michael Schmitz and receiver Jalin Hyatt in the second and third rounds, respectively. They also signed wideouts Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder, while trading for tight end Darren Waller.
In 2022, Waller, Campbell and Crowder combined for 97 catches and 1,081 yards. However, factoring in the loss of Richie James and his production, New York was only gaining a net of 40 receptions and 612 yards. Nowhere near enough, and certainly nothing which would elevate a quarterback now being paid like a star.
While it’s true Schoen had to clean up former general manager Dave Gettleman’s mess, he also created a mess of his own by signing Jones. The details of the contract show the Giants are tied to the former Duke star through at least 2024, with the option of releasing him prior to ’25.
If that happens, New York would save $19.395 million, while eating $22.2 million in dead cap.
Some will argue Schoen had no choice to sign Jones. If he didn’t give Jones the contract extension, someone would have paid the price in free agency.
That’s almost certainly true. And it’s also true Schoen should have taken that chance. If Jones left, fine. New York was a playoff team last season, but the reality is that season was built on a 9–7-1 record in which seven of those wins came against opponents with losing records. It also had a negative point differential.
The Giants weren’t very good then, and they treated Jones as though losing him would have meant a potentially huge step backward. Instead, signing him could prove an enormous anchor.
New York could have brought in a stopgap on a one-year deal such as Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater, and not seen a large downturn in quarterback play. All while keeping future options open with an incredible draft class for signal-callers looming in 2024. Perhaps they’ll still go that route.
Schoen faced a deadline in March and panicked. He signed Jones to a deal almost universally panned the moment it was reported.
Now, the Giants and their general manager are stuck with the consequences of losing the big picture for the short-term one.
Perspective is often a great thing. Schoen lost his this spring, and it’s costing New York dearly.