Daniel Jones has had an up-and-down career since being drafted by the New York Giants with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft. Although he has shown some flashes, and has put together some stretches of adequate quarterbacking, Jones has not excelled consistently enough to inspire hopes that he will become a franchise QB, at least not in New York.
Jones would be best suited in a situation where he can play more of a game manager role, and where he has talented weapons around him, particularly big pass catchers that can come down with less-than-perfectly placed throws. With that being said, below are the three best (realistic) scenarios where Daniel Jones could flourish.
3 best trade destinations for Daniel Jones
3. Taking a flyer on a career resurgence with 49ers?
Jimmy Garoppolo was once the talk of the league as Tom Brady’s eventual successor in New England, and then as the new face of the San Francisco 49ers. Alas, all has not gone as planned for Jimmy G, as evidenced by the 49ers drafting Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL draft. If San Francisco were to bring in Daniel Jones, it would be to compete with Lance, although most likely the 49ers would hope that Lance wins that competition, given their significant investment of draft capital in the North Dakota State University product.
That being said, a Garoppolo-for-Jones swap isn’t entirely out of the question, as the Giants would at least be able to acquire a serviceable QB for next season with Garoppolo. Also, from Jones’ perspective, if he is able to beat out Lance for the starting quarterback job (which isn’t necessarily impossible given that Lance didn’t win the job this season), Jones will walk into arguably the best situation that he could realistically hope for: George Kittle has a legitimately credible claim to the title of Best Tight End in Football, Debo Samuel is an athletic and explosive playmaker at the receiver position, and across from Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk is oozing with potential as well.
2. Daniel Jones to Carolina?
Cam Newton is certainly not the long term answer in Carolina, and Sam Darnold is likely not the answer either. Daniel Jones would step into a situation where he would likely be the front runner to be the starter in 2022. Carolina also has some decent talent at the skill positions surrounding Jones: Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in the league, and he excels at catching passes out of the backfield.
This means that McCaffrey will be able to not only take pressure off Jones by running the ball effectively, but he will also prove to be a useful weapon catching passes out of the backfield as a safety outlet, or even lining up in the slot as an extra receiver. Wide receiver D.J. Moore has 93 receptions for 1,157 yards this season, and he would provide Daniel Jones with an excellent target to throw to. Robby Anderson is an adequate secondary receiving option, although he probably would be better in a tertiary role if Carolina drafts another receiver.
The offensive line is mostly a work-in-progress, but the good news is that Carolina has the sixth overall pick in the upcoming draft, and there are several directions they could take depending on who is available. From a potential franchise left tackle in Alabama’s Evan Neal, to a potential #1 receiver in Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, there are many options for the Panthers to consider.
This is shaping up to be a historically deep class at wide receiver, which means that Carolina could even try for the best of both worlds. For example, the Panthers could draft Neal or another top-tier lineman with the sixth pick, and then try to trade back up into the late first to take a wideout such as Chris Olave or Jameson Williams, who might fall due to the injury he sustained in the National Championship game.
1. A perfect situation with Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are still processing one of the worst defeats in recent memory. If they decide that it is time to move on from Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones could prove a viable option. He would be walking into a picture perfect situation, with an elite running back in Jonathan Taylor to keep the pressure off him, a steady veteran presence at receiver in T.Y. Hilton, and a young upcoming star receiver in Michael Pittman Jr. With his 6-foot-4 frame, Pittman would offer Jones an excellent 50/50 ball target.
The Colts, who came so close to making the playoffs this year, would provide Daniel Jones an excellent landing spot where he would be able to step into the starting role surrounded by potent offensive threats and play a game manager role, all while having talented receivers to throw to when the situation calls for it.