The excuses are gone. Vague outlines of what success looks like aren't welcome anymore either. After five straight losing seasons and two years of sub-par quarterback play, Daniel Jones must take a large step forward and the Giants must field a winning team in 2021. If not, Giants ownership must move on from Jones and general managers Dave Gettleman in 2022. Simple as that.
The Giants made a large free-agent splash this weekend when they signed former Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay to be Jones' new No. 1 out wide. Gettleman made Golladay the eighth-highest paid receiver in the league and gave him $40 million guaranteed, the fifth-highest amount for a wide receiver in the NFL.
It's a risky signing because Golladay is coming off a hip injury and has only played one full season in four years. It's also concerning because Gettleman already whiffed signing wide receiver Golden Tate to an overpriced deal in free agency two years back. Tate flamed out with the Giants and was cut this offseason.
But Gettleman made this move because Jones needed help on the perimeter and Golladay was the top free-agent wide receiver. We can debate how elite he is, but the Giants need to know exactly what they have in Jones. Golladay will help answer that question. He also ensures Jones and Gettleman have no more outs. Either they get it done this year or they need to be gone next.
In the 2020 preseason when asked about Gettleman's job security, Giants co-owner John Mara said, "We need to feel like we’re building something that is going to compete for a championship. If we are able to play meaningful games in December, that would be a sign that we are doing that."
Gettleman was retained because technically the Giants did play meaningful games in December. That they only won six games and weren't close to fielding a championship team was not important. What was important was the Giants were within a game of winning the NFC East. The worst division in football. One of the worst of all-time. That was progress ... apparently.
If Mara is asked that question this year, Giants fans should expect the words "winning record" and "playoffs" to come out of his mouth. Anything less would be a slap in the face to this fanbase. A sixth straight losing season is unacceptable. So is continued mediocre quarterback play.
It's not Jones' fault Gettleman reached for him with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. No one else thought he should go that high, but Gettleman pinpointed him as his guy despite some obvious red flags as a player coming out of Duke.
Jones hasn't lived up to expectations of a quarterback being picked that high so far, throwing 22 interceptions and fumbling the ball 29 times in two years. Again, he shouldn't be faulted for being over-drafted. He's also been without oft-injured/highly-talented running back Saquon Barkley or a true No. 1 receiving option both seasons. Still, his turnover issues have cost the Giants several winnable games and his penchant for missing easy throws has also been evident. Now in year three in the league with bonafide weapons around him, Jones must be held to a higher standard.
This is a critical year for the Giants. They've gone 15-33 since Gettleman took over in 2018. They haven't been to the playoffs since 2016. They haven't won a playoff game since winning the 2011 Super Bowl. Fans are ready to revolt. Pitchforks and torches are in hand.
It's time to see some progress on the field. That starts at the most important position in football (quarterback) and extends to the person who drafted that position (Gettleman). With a highly-paid receiver now in town, ownership can divert the firing squad no more. Get it done now or get out of town at the end of the season. There is no in-between.