Daniel Jones’s torn ACL ends his season, and the Giants’ future gets murkier – The Washington Post

The New York Giants’ season continued to veer far off course Monday when an MRI exam confirmed that quarterback Daniel Jones had suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Giants Coach Brian Daboll announced the MRI result Monday. The outcome, while expected after Jones suffered a noncontact injury Sunday, plunged the Giants further into on-field irrelevance and complicated the team’s future by raising the possibility that it could use a lofty pick in next year’s NFL draft on a quarterback. Jones, 26, faces surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation that will make it unlikely he will be ready to play at the outset of the 2024 season.

Jones’s latest injury was the Giants’ newest setback in a season in which they have fallen to last place in the NFC East and have been one of the league’s worst teams after reaching the playoffs last season in Year 1 under their new football brain trust of Daboll and General Manager Joe Schoen.

Daboll and Schoen took over before last season and inherited Jones and tailback Saquon Barkley, whom Schoen’s predecessor, Dave Gettleman, had added in controversial draft decisions. Gettleman used the No. 2 choice in the 2018 draft on Barkley, taking a running back off the board unusually soon by modern NFL standards while leaving the team’s need for a quarterback temporarily unaddressed. A year later, he used the No. 6 selection on Jones, a Duke product most draft analysts did not consider a candidate to be chosen so high.

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The selections resembled major mistakes when the Giants went 5-11 in 2018, 4-12 in ’19, 6-10 in 2020 and 4-13 in ’21, leading co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch to perform another housecleaning and bring in Schoen and Daboll from the Buffalo Bills organization. The two new decision-makers made things work surprisingly quickly; the Giants went 9-7-1 last season. The team made only its second playoff appearance since the 2011 season — when the pairing of quarterback Eli Manning and then-coach Tom Coughlin won its second Super Bowl title in tandem — and upset the Minnesota Vikings in an opening-round game before suffering a divisional-round defeat at Philadelphia.

Barkley was the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher last season, and Jones finally established himself as a reliable starter, throwing for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns while running for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. The Giants opted for stability last offseason by maneuvering to keep Jones and Barkley off the unrestricted free agent market. They signed Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract extension. That enabled them to use their franchise-player tag to keep Barkley from exiting via free agency. Barkley agreed to a revised one-year deal with the team as the Giants reported to training camp in July.

But little has gone right for the Giants this season. Sunday’s 30-6 defeat to the Raiders, in which former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce made his NFL head coaching debut for Las Vegas, dropped their record to 2-7. The Giants were coming off an overtime defeat to the New York Jets a week earlier in which Daboll had opted against a fourth-and-one attempt late in regulation that might have sealed a victory, only to watch kicker Graham Gano miss a short field goal try and the Jets rush down the field for a tying field goal.

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Jones injured his knee Sunday in his return from missing three games due to a neck injury. After being sacked on the final play of the first quarter, he fell to the turf on the opening play of the second quarter and grabbed his knee. He walked to the sideline and was examined in the medical tent, then went to the locker room.

There was some speculation before the NFL trade deadline about the Giants sending Barkley elsewhere. That didn’t happen. But he’s eligible for free agency again in the upcoming offseason. Daboll and Schoen probably are secure for at least another season, given their surprising success last season. But the Giants will have an early first-round pick in a year with a celebrated class of college quarterbacks, including Southern Cal’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. If Jones’s injury — or injuries — lead the Giants to reconsider whether he is their long-term answer at quarterback, they would have an intriguing decision to make.

For now, undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito and Matt Barkley are the only healthy quarterbacks on the Giants’ roster as they play out the remainder of a lost season. They signed Barkley to their practice squad last week. Veteran Tyrod Taylor is on the injured reserve list with a rib injury.

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