The New York Giants spent three first-round picks on players in the 2019 draft. Only one will have the fifth year of his rookie contract guaranteed.
The Giants are not picking up the option on quarterback Daniel Jones, NFL Network's Judy Battista reported, while New York is exercising the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later confirmed Lawrence's option.
The decisions on the two remaining former first-round picks from the 2019 draft -- fellow selection Deandre Baker lasted just one year with the Giants -- offer a stark contrast between the two players, with the decisions revolving around the importance of expectation, production and the current state of the franchise.
Lawrence was a productive player out of the gate in New York, recording 54 tackles (nine for loss) and 6.5 sacks in his first 32 professional games in 2019 and 2020. He finished his second season as the third-best player in terms of defensive grade among second-year defenders, per Pro Football Focus, and he's consistently been both available and effective in his first three seasons, earning himself a starting role on a defensive front that also includes Leonard Williams.
Jones, meanwhile, was chosen to be the next franchise quarterback for the Giants, but has struggled for a variety of reasons, including injuries, poor protection and general organizational instability. There's been reason for optimism regarding Jones' future, but he's yet to prove he can be counted on as New York's future under center.
There remains hope that Jones turns into the quarterback the Giants hoped he'd become. New York hired Brian Daboll as its head coach with the belief Daboll can do what he once did with Josh Allen in Buffalo: Make Jones into a franchise star. Without the security of a fifth-year option, Jones will be on a relatively short leash, essentially being given one season to work with Daboll and prove he's worth the investment beyond 2022.
As Battista noted Thursday, Jones can earn himself plenty of money by playing well in 2022 and forcing the Giants to franchise tag him entering 2023. But without the option, his window to prove himself is now clearly defined.