Most Giants fans probably reacted the same way when a report on Monday stated that the Giants have been researching and even had a virtual meeting with quarterback Justin Herbert: There's just no way, right?
SNY Insider Ralph Vacchiano spoke to an NFL exec who told him "It has to be a smokescreen," and during an Instagram Live Q&A with SNY's Justine Ward on Tuesday, Vacchiano offered a bit more context on why the Giants would be doing their research on one of the draft's top QBs just one year after taking Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick.
"It's a fun story because Joe Judge has still not said the name Daniel Jones," Vacchiano said. "He has not acknowledged that Daniel Jones will be his starting quarterback, and he also if you remember a few months ago, there were rumors and reports that the Giants were involved with Tom Brady. The Giants didn't come out and deny that, they just let it be. So they really fanned the flames on this idea that they are interested in someone other than Daniel Jones as their quarterback.
"The truth, though, is they love Daniel Jones. They are not looking for another quarterback. The Justin Herbert thing is a couple of things. One is they want to trade down, and if they can drum up interest and make people think 'Oh man, they might take a quarterback,' maybe that drums up some interest. Maybe a team buys that and says 'I need to trade up.'"
And one other reason why the Giants would want to get some meeting time would Herbert? They'll have to face him one day, so why not start compiling a scouting report on him now? It's a move that a former Joe Judge mentor has pulled many times.
"The other thing is that this is an old Patriots trick that Joe Judge has learned," said Vacchiano. "They, every year, interview, meet with the top quarterbacks in the draft because they're going to play them some day. They're going to build a scouting report and a file on them. Bill Belichick was doing that for years even though he had Tom Brady, and maybe that's what Joe Judge is doing now, that he wants to just learn about this guy because he knows he's going to have to gameplan for him."
Vacchiano noted on Monday that sources have told him there's currently more trade interest in the Lions' No. 3 pick than the Giants' No. 4 pick, which obviously makes sense. Why would a team spend the assets to trade up to No. 4 if some other team can just jump up one spot ahead of them?
The Giants want to trade down, so maybe it really is all just a smokescreen, as well as a way to file away some info about Herbert for when they face him down the road. But one thing is certain, the time between now and the end of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night should be plenty of fun.