Daniel Jones’ big Giants extension puts Saints-Derek Carr pairing in a better light

Hoo boy. The New Orleans Saints’ lucrative contract with free agent quarterback Derek Carr turned out to be the first domino in a series of moves around the NFL — within 24 hours, the Seattle Seahawks and Geno Smith agreed to a three-year contract extension, the New York Giants reached an agreement with Daniel Jones on a four-year deal, and the Baltimore Ravens issued the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson (which the Atlanta Falcons are uninterested in contesting, not that anyone asked. Quitters).

Derek Carr is averaging $37.5 million on his four-year deal with New Orleans, but it’s actually closer to $33 million per-year thanks to some creative contract structuring. Smith is right there with a $35 million per-year average of his own. What’s bizarre is the $40 million annual value that Jones got from the Giants.

Jones played in one more game than Carr did last season (the Raiders benched him for the final two weeks to protect themselves from injury guarantees in his old contract) but threw nine fewer touchdown passes, ending the season with 15 scoring throws in 16 games. Jones hasn’t averaged more than one touchdown pass per game since his rookie year, connecting on 11 of them in 14 games in 2020 and scoring just 10 of them in 11 games in 2021. He does bring an element with his legs, having run for a career-high 708 yards with 7 touchdown carries last season, but that’s not why the Giants are paying him $40 million a year.

Naturally these situations are all more complicated than they appear at first glance. Thanks to various salary cap mechanics and smart contract structuring, Carr’s 2023 cap hit is only valued at about $7.2 million (3.2% of their total). Jones, on the other hand, is eating up roughly $19 million of the Giants’ spending limit (about 8% of their total). Jones has been mediocre at best in his pro career. But if New York wants to overpay him and push Carr’s contract value down the rankings, we won’t complain. The Saints are going to come out of this feeling even better once Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have gotten paid, to say nothing of Jackson.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire