The New York Giants signed first-round pick quarterback Daniel Jones on Monday, agreeing to a four-year deal worth $25.6 million. The former Duke signal caller was the sixth pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Jones will report to mini camp with the other rookies for two days of practice before full training camp begins on Thursday. That is when he will compete with Eli Manning for the starting job.
Or will he? Head Coach Pat Shurmur seemed to indicate at the end of minicamp in June that Manning was the starter and Jones the backup.
“At the quarterback position, we have a starter in Eli and we have guys behind him, specifically Daniel Jones, who need to do everything they can to be ready to play Week 1. That’s where we’re at,” Shurmur told reporters. “You never know what is going to happen.”
Possibility of Starting
That last sentence seemed to build on what offensive coordinator Mike Shula told reporters back in May about what he thought of Jones. He was confident that Jones is game ready right now.
“I think he’d be ready to go,” Shula said. “He has that capability.”
That has given fans and pundits alike reason to believe that Jones is competing with Manning for the starting job.
One who experienced being replaced by the Giants is NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner. He was the starter for the Giants in 2004 when coach Tom Coughlin told him rookie Manning would be taking over with seven games remaining in the season. Warner told the New York Daily News that he was told the team was looking at the future.
“Even Tom Coughlin told me as much: ‘It’s not because Eli’s better right now. It has nothing to do with you. It’s about how do I prepare this team for the future,’” Warner, said. “‘You’ve helped us win and changed the perception,’ (but) reading between the lines, … I got the sense (we) didn’t think we were a contender, so it made more sense to make a move now. We can get there, but it’s not gonna be with Kurt Warner. It’s gonna be with Eli Manning. That’s our future. We’ve got to ride with him at some point.”
Manning Shouldn’t Worry
Now it is Manning, who is 38, being the speculation of being benched in favor of a younger quarterback. Manning, though, told reporters he is confident he is the starter.
“I don’t feel like it’s a competition,” Manning said.
Last year Manning completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes for 4,299 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. But his quarterback rating was 51.6, 25th in the league.
Shumur and general manager Dave Gettleman seem to be unwavering in their support for Manning. At least for this year, and as long was Manning doesn’t slide any further. If the Giants have a poor start to the season, though, Jones could play. Warner said that could happen this year.
“If Daniel Jones is better, Daniel Jones should play,” Warner said. “No disrespect to Eli, but if you feel that’s the case, you have to pass the torch. Now that’s not how I feel, though. I feel Eli can be successful; he just needs help around him. Daniel Jones is your future. No doubt about that.”