Giants Hoped Daniel Jones’ Asking Price Would Not Top $40MM Per Year


The franchise tag window opened at 3pm CT today, and while it is unsurprising the Giants have not made a decision, Daniel Jones‘ recent actions could push the team down the path to one soon. Jones has changed agents, and his asking price may well prompt the Giants to tag him.

The $45MM-per-year number has been floated for the former first-round pick. That figure is higher than the Giants want to go; it might be significantly higher. The Giants hoped Jones’ asking price would come in below $40MM AAV, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post notes (video link).

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Jones upped his value considerably this season, a statistically unspectacular campaign but an efficient one that brought improvement from his first three years. A woeful Vikings defense played a part, with Jones accounting for 368 and 379 yards in the Giants’ Week 17 and wild-card round games in Minnesota. Those marked Jones’ highest and second-highest yardage outputs this season; his all-around performance in the rematch led the Giants to their first postseason win in 11 years. The 25-year-old passer is now in strong position, and his recent actions point to him maximizing it.

Regarding negotiations, however, the Giants do not appear to be too far out of the starting blocks. Prior to Jones changing agents, the sides had not officially started talks, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes. Jones’ agent change merely delayed them, per Leonard, who adds this switch looks to have come about because of backchannel word ahead of the official talks. While the $45MM figure has circulated, it has not come up in official negotiations yet. Jones changing agencies does signal these discussions could bring some turbulence, but Leonard expects a deal to be finalized.

With no quarterback tied to a deal between $35MM and $40MM per annum, the latter number has become a line of demarcation of sorts. Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford are tied to $40MM-per-year pacts. Both have obviously proven more than Jones, though the cap’s growth puts the Duke product in a good spot. Going to $45MM would move Jones past Josh Allen ($43MM per year), even though guarantees provide a better indications of contracts’ value. But the $40MM price range would put Jones in interesting company. A deal between $35-$40MM has been the expected range for Jones for a bit.

After a historically turnover-prone rookie season, Jones submitted two inferior statistical years in 2020 and 2021 — the latter an injury-shortened slate. The Joe SchoenBrian Daboll regime, then, did not pick up his $22.4MM fifth-year option in May 2022. Despite Jones throwing 15 touchdown passes during the 2022 regular season — nine down from his 13-game rookie year — he finished with the league’s lowest interception rate and piloted a playoff-qualifying season even as various developments depleted the Giants’ pass-catching corps. But Big Blue might be forced to further weaken its skill-position arsenal to keep Jones.

New York still wants to sign both Jones and Saquon Barkley to long-term deals, Jeff Darlington of tweets. The tag is not expected to come out until close to the 3pm deadline on March 7. That is not uncommon; most tag business unfolds close to the March and July deadlines. But Jones will receive the tag if he is not signed by that point. That would put Barkley on track for free agency. The Giants tagging Barkley at $10.1MM would be far less constraining than cuffing Jones at $32.4MM. Big Blue would prefer this path, with a Jones extension producing a cap number low enough it would still allow for some free agency moves.

A Jones tag would not only limit the team’s options with outside free agents, it would cut into funds for a last-ditch Barkley deal. Following the tag deadline, the Giants would have six more days of exclusive Barkley negotiations; the legal tampering period begins March 13. However, the Combine will give the two-time Pro Bowl running back a good indication of what will be out there for him on the market. The team has offered Barkley a deal in the $12.5MM-per-year neighborhood, and it is believed a $14MM-AAV pact could wrap these negotiations. Thus, signing Jones by March 7 will be the best way for the Giants to retain both their offensive cornerstones.

The Titans navigated a similar situation in 2020 by re-signing Ryan Tannehill just before free agency and tagging Derrick Henry, who signed an extension that summer. The next two weeks will be telling for the Giants in their effort to retain their quarterback and running back.