It has been a year since the Giants shocked many by selecting Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, and they've never seemed to have any regrets. They were sure then they had found a worthy successor to Eli Manning. And he backed up their faith with a pretty good rookie year, too.
So unless Dave Gettleman really wants to be fired and John Mara has completely lost his mind, they aren't likely to exchange their quarterback of the future now.
Yes, it's probably true, as NFL Network reported, that the Giants have been researching and virtually meeting with Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, one of the top three quarterbacks in this year's draft. But don't worry too much about the Giants pulling a stunner and drafting him at No. 4. First, it's not unusual for teams to meet with players they won't draft, even if those players are quarterbacks.
And second, there is clearly -- and perhaps obviously -- something else at work here.
"It has to be a smokescreen," one NFL executive told SNY. "They've made it clear they want to trade down and I don't think the market is there for them. Maybe they think someone will buy the idea that they're going to take (Herbert), but I doubt it. It's pretty easy to tell who needs a quarterback, and they clearly don't."
Here's why no one believes they're moving on from Jones: He received generally rave reviews for his rookie year (despite his 18 fumbles) from scouts, executives, and perhaps most importantly, his teammates. Oh, and the Giants' decision-makers were thrilled with him, too. Back in December, when Mara announced he was retaining Gettleman, he called Jones "terrific" and added "I think we've got the answer at quarterback."
And a few weeks later, when the Giants hired Joe Judge as their new head coach, Mara said "Every person we interviewed loves the quarterback. They all said that to us. They all said, 'We could win with this guy.'"
Sure, it's been easy to doubt that as Judge stubbornly refused to confirm Jones would be his starting quarterback, or to even say Jones' name. But his desire to be Bill Belichick-like aside, it would take a stunning reversal by Mara to dump Jones now.
And never mind that the Giants probably couldn't get fair value in return if they traded Jones now -- which they'd have to do if they drafted Herbert to make any sense of this fantasy. Every team is pretty set at quarterback at the moment, and the Giants' leverage would be low since everyone would know Jones has to go. And never mind that after winning nine games in his first two years as a GM, Gettleman can't afford to lose another year behind the normal struggles of a rookie quarterback. If he wants to be the GM in 2021, he needs to start winning games now.
Which leads back to the smokescreen -- or a desperate, last-ditch Hail Mary to drive up a market. According to multiple NFL sources, there appears to be more activity and trade talk around the Detroit Lions' pick at No. 3, with no one wanting to get serious with the Giants until the Lions' intentions are clear.
Also, with more and more people starting to believe the Miami Dolphins won't take a quarterback at 5, and that Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa will drop farther than expected, the market for trading down could be drying up. The Los Angeles Chargers, who many assumed would trade up, could just sit tight at 6 and Herbert might drop into their lap.
Unless they panic and believe the Giants will take him first.
It seems unlikely that they'd be that gullible, which means any FaceTime call between Judge and Herbert was likely more about due diligence and the usual over-investigation of every player in the draft. Teams do that because you never know what might happen now or in the future, so it helps to build up a file on every player entering the league.
And who knows? Maybe in the course of their research they uncover a team that likes him that they didn't know about before, which adds another potential trade partner to their list.
Every little bit of information could help in some way, but it doesn't change this reality: The Giants are committed to Jones as their quarterback of both the present and the future. It would be a sharp, dangerous, and hard-to-explain U-turn to spin in another direction now.