5 quarterbacks the Giants could target in free agency

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Could Jimmy Garoppolo be an option for the Giants at QB?
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
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The NFL offseason has officially transitioned into free agency and NFL Draft watch, and we’ve been taking you through all the New York Giants’ positions of need to look for potential free agent targets. We started with wide receivers, then moved on to linebackers, and then running backs on the off chance the team is unable to work out a deal with Saquon Barkley. 

Now we’ll turn our attention to a position that we didn’t think we’d need to discuss: quarterback. 

With all of the rumors circulating about how much money Daniel Jones is asking for in free agency, there is now a chance that the former 8th overall pick and the Giants are unable to work out a long-term deal. We’ve already covered the realistic options for the Giants in the NFL Draft, so today we’ll look at which free agent quarterbacks could best fit in New York, depending on the direction the front office wants to go. 


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Potential Giants Quarterback Targets

Lamar Jackson – Ravens

This would be the biggest swing the Giants could take in free agency and remains the least likely scenario. However, if the Giants were to decide to let Daniel Jones walk and were forced to use the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley, then they could conceivably have enough money to sign Jackson to a long-term deal. 

The Giants could also decide to part ways with both Jones and Barkley and use the majority of their cap space to bring in Jackson. That would be a drastic shift for an organization that just made a playoff run and is carrying lots of optimism into the offseason, which is why this is the least likely scenario, but it’s one we can at least address. 

There remains some criticism about Jackson as a big-game passer, but a lot of that has to do with Baltimore’s inability to build a solid receiving corps around him. Pro Football Focus gives Jackson a 93.3 passing grade on throws 10-plus yards down the field, and he showed the ability to hit on deep passes in his MVP season. The bigger concern for the 26-year-old is how often he takes hits in the running game and by dancing around in the pocket. He’s now missed at least five games due to injury in back-to-back years, which could be a concern for a team looking to give him a lucrative contract.

If you’re going to even consider signing Daniel Jones for $40 or $45 million per year then why not just pay $48-50 million for Lamar Jackson?


Jimmy Garoppolo – 49ers

If the Giants are looking for a two year bridge quarterback, there might not be a better option than Jimmy G. He was on track for a career year after replacing the injured Trey Lance, but then he was hit with an injury of his own, which led to the emergence of Brock Purdy.

Yes, Garoppolo may be a bit of a “system quarterback,” but he has also proven that he is a high-floor player and a true leader, going 32-15 with a 100.2 rating as a starter since 2019. He doesn’t take unnecessary chances with the football, posting a 67.6% career completion rate but lacks the mobility that Daboll likes from his quarterbacks. 

Since we mentioned it with Jackson, we also need to mention that Jimmy G has missed a combined 31 games due to injury and has played a full season just once in his nine-year career. That’s not ideal if his backup is a raw rookie that you’re trying to take time to develop. However, he would likely only cost the Giants around $15 million a year, which means they could ensure they re-sign Barkley and give Jimmy G strong pass-catching options. 


Jacoby Brissett – Browns

Another boring and cheap veteran option as a bridge quarterback is Jacoby Brissett, who proved to be a great choice as the Browns’ interim quarterback in 2022. He threw for 2,608 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in his 11 starts, and his 75.2 passing grade on PFF ranked 12th among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts on the season. 

He also has some value with his legs, rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns in those 11 games. Brissett is a smart player, with just a 1.5% career interception rate, who has proved that he can be a solid veteran presence that will allow a team to remain competitive while also showing a young quarterback how to manage the game.

If the Giants wanted to remain a fringe playoff team in 2023 while building a solid corps of skill position players around a rookie quarterback, Brissett could be an intriguing choice. The Giants could also choose to sign Brissett AND one of the next two quarterbacks and pair safety with upside.

Jacoby Brissett could be a low risk QB option for the Giants
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) hands the back to running back Nick Chubb (24) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


Baker Mayfield – Rams 

Everybody is quick to write off Baker Mayfield, but it’s important to consider the possibility that he just got a raw deal from the Cleveland Browns. It’s clear that the Browns are not a well-run organization, and there was constant turmoil during Baker’s four years there. They were also a run-heavy team and didn’t really give the former first-overall pick a chance to push the ball down the field often.

Then they strung him along all offseason, knowing he wasn’t actually part of their plans, only to trade him to Carolina, the only team willing to make a move for a quarterback that late in the offseason. Considering the Panthers were a dumpster fire, it’s hard to blame Mayfield for not thriving there. However, he looked pretty good in Los Angeles, completing 63.6% of his passes for 850 yards and four touchdowns in four starts. 

Mayfield will be 28 years old next season, and there’s a scenario where he could take a big step forward as a player under the tutelage of somebody like Daboll. If the Giants want a low-cost, high-upside flyer as they develop their own rookie quarterback, Mayfield could be a decent gamble. 

Of course, if it turns out he’s toast then next year could be a long one in New York. 


Sam Darnold – Panthers

Sam Darnold fits the same narrative as Baker Mayfield.

The Jets drafted him and then did nothing to put him in a position to succeed. He then looked really bad for a poor Carolina team in 2021; however, there were some flashes in 2022 that signal that Sam Darnold may not be a finished product.

While he only completed 58.6% of his passes, he won four of his six starts in 2022 while throwing for 1,143 yards and seven touchdowns in six games with just three interceptions. It was his highest touchdown percentage ever and the lowest interception rate of his career. He also ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns in those six games. 

Darnold is still just 25 years old, so his NFL career is far from over. He’s another player who could really take another step in his development under Daboll. However, just like with Mayfield, he’s a massive risk (even bigger than Baker) and if the Giants were to sign him and not get any improvement out of him, 2023 would be a brutal season for Giants fans. 

Of course, they would then likely be in a position to draft Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels as their franchise quarterback.


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For more Giants coverage, like this quarterbacks article, visit amNY Sports 

Could Sam Darnold be an option for the Giants at quarterback?
Sam Darnold escapes pressure while attempting a pass for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 (Wikimedia Commons)