"We're not trading for Deshaun Watson," Giants co-owner John Mara said Wednesday after introducing Joe Schoen as the team's new general manager. "There are so many reasons why we wouldn't do that. Cap-wise, we couldn't afford [the acquisition], but more importantly, with the allegations that are out there right now, that is just not the right fit for us."
Daniel Jones has been New York's starting quarterback for the past three seasons but has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play since being drafted No. 6 overall in 2019.
Watson wants to be traded from the Houston Texans but didn't play this past season while facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior.
Schoen said Watson wasn't even a topic he addressed during the interview process, almost as if he viewed not having interest in Watson as common sense.
Watson has a no-trade clause in the deal he signed with Houston in September 2020 and is set to make $35 million in base salary next season.
"Where we are salary-cap-wise and the pending legal issues, I don't know how you can go down that road right now," Schoen said.
The Giants are projected to be about $5 million over the salary cap next season and have Jones on his rookie contract for at least another year.
Schoen and a new head coach who is expected to be hired by early next week will have to decide whether to exercise Jones' fifth-year option for 2023. The Giants have until May before making that decision.
In the meantime, it appears the Giants are committed to moving forward with Jones, the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2019. Jones threw 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 11 starts this past year before missing the final six weeks with a neck injury.
Jones is expected to be medically cleared in plenty of time for the 2022 season, and Schoen sees enough potential to have him part of the Giants' plans.
"The kid has physical ability. He's got arm strength, he's athletic, he can run," Schoen said. "I'm really excited to work with Daniel.
"Again, when the new staff gets in here, we'll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best."
There are reasons for the Giants to build around the 24-year-old Jones, who has flashed potential despite playing with an insufficient supporting cast.
The Giants were 28th in the NFL in pass block win rate this season at 53.6%. Their starting running back, tight end and top four wide receivers all missed at least two games as they finished with the 31st-ranked offense.
The Giants organization still believes in its starting quarterback for most of the past three seasons.
"We do feel Daniel can play," Mara said. "We've done everything possible to screw this kid up since he's been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let's bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.
"I have a lot of hope in Daniel. I know how badly he wants it. I know how the players feel about him. We are certainly not giving up on him by any stretch of the imagination."