Daniel Jones’ reps seeking more than $45 million per year as Giants work daily on new deal: sources
Joe Schoen said Thursday in Indianapolis that the Giants’ daily negotiations with Daniel Jones’ new agents still haven’t drawn the parties close to a new deal.
“You’re starting to feel the time crunch a little bit,” Schoen said on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football as Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline nears. “I wish we were a little bit closer on a deal than what we are right now, but there’s still time. We’re gonna circle back up again today at some point.”
This should explain why they’re still not close: league sources tell the Daily News that Jones’ representatives are asking for more than $45 million per year on a multi-year contract extension.
That’s over $12.6 million more than what Schoen could get Jones for in 2023 on the $32.4 million non-exclusive franchise tag.
That’s at least $8 million more than what the Giants would have to pay Jones on average annually in 2023 and 2024 ($37.05 million) if they franchise tagged him for two consecutive seasons, based on overthecap.com’s projections.
So the tag is certainly where these negotiations seem to be headed if there isn’t a meaningful change in course.
“Daniel played well this year. We’d like to have him back,” Schoen reiterated Thursday. “We have different options whether it’s contract extension or utilizing the franchise tag. In an ideal world we’d get something done with him, and we’re gonna continue to work towards that.”
Only five quarterbacks average $45 million per year or more on their current contracts: the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers ($50.2 million), the Broncos’ Russell Wilson ($49 million), the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray ($46.1 million), the Browns’ Deshaun Watson ($46 million) and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), per overthecap.com.
The Bengals’ Joe Burrow, Chargers’ Justin Herbert, Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and Ravens’ Lamar Jackson all could eclipse that number this offseason with new deals, too, though. And the Bills’ Josh Allen averages $43 million per year but can reach $48 million per year with incentives.
So for perspective, $45.1 million a year still would barely land Jones in the top 10 average annual QB salaries in the near future, with the NFL’s salary cap expected to continue its climb.
Jones, 25, is understandably looking to capitalize on his best NFL season after leading the Giants to their first playoff berth since 2016.
In his 31-24 Wild Card road playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings, Jones became the first quarterback in NFL playoff history to throw for 300-plus yards, throw two touchdown passes and rush for 70-plus rushing yards in the same game.
Last year, the Cardinals’ Murray, the No. 1 overall pick the year Jones went No. 6, got a five-year, $230.5 million extension that included $160 million guaranteed. The deal also briefly included a homework clause to ensure Murray would put in his share of the work.
Through four seasons, Murray has more games played, wins, passing yards, touchdown passes, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and a better completion percentage than Jones. The Giants’ QB, in contrast, comes with off-the-charts leadership and intangibles, and he dramatically improved his game in Brian Daboll’s first season as head coach.
The argument could be made that Jones is ascending.
Good luck convincing people around the league that Jones is worth $45 million or even $40 million per year, though. At this week’s NFL Combine, the most common commentary on Jones’ value from league personnel, coaches and agents was five words:
“I want to see more.”
The majority of evaluators think Jones is a slightly above average to good player who is not in the top tier of his position. There are serious questions about what kind of market exists for Jones’ services outside of New York.
There are plenty of quarterback needy teams who would improve at the position if they acquired Jones, but no one can tell if there is a front office outside of East Rutherford, N.J., that would pay Jones anything close to the kind of money he is looking for.
This is why Schoen seems to hold so much leverage in these negotiations, along with holding the franchise tag in his back pocket.
If the Giants used the cheaper transition tag ($30.4 million) that allowed teams to offer Jones a deal without surrendering draft compensation, then maybe someone would try to poach him.
But if he’s under the non-exclusive franchise tag, no one believes a team would surrender two first-round picks to sign Jones away. That might be something a team would do to steal Lamar Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens, but not Jones from the Giants.
Schoen interestingly revealed on NFL Network that he has “talked throughout this whole process” with Jones directly.
“He knows how we feel about him,” Schoen said.
It sounds like the GM has been upfront and candid with his quarterback in “personal conversations” that this process won’t be easy, even though the team wants him back.
“This is his first time going through free agency, and I just tell him there’s a business side to this, too, that you haven’t been exposed to,” Schoen said. “So just understand it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, we’ll find a way to bridge the gap, and it doesn’t change the way we feel about you. So take out any type of personal or emotional and just understand it’s a business. And hopefully we’ll find a comfortable landing spot for both parties.”
A contract north of $45 million per year certainly does not sound like a comfortable landing spot for both parties, which explains why the Giants are so urgently conducting these daily in-person meetings with Jones’ Athletes First agents as Tuesday’s 4 p.m. tag deadline looms.