The Giants and Daniel Jones just beat the clock.
Jones and the Giants agreed to a long-term contract extension just before the franchise tag deadline of Tuesday at 4 p.m., a source said.
That allowed the Giants to franchise running back Saquon Barkley to retain his rights and possibly land a multiyear contract for him as well.
( Daniel Jones reps seek more than $45 million per year as Giants work daily on new deal: sources )
Jones’ new contract is for four years and $160 million, with $35 million more available in additional incentives, according to NFL Network. The contract includes $82 million guaranteed upon signing and allowed the Giants to lower Jones’ salary cap for 2023 to around $19 million, according to ESPN.
Based on those numbers, Jones received the minimum annual average salary of $40 million he wanted. And he has a chance to average up to $48.75 million per year, in the neighborhood of Jones’ initial contract, if he wins all those incentives.
“I said after the season that I love this place. I have really enjoyed my time here and I want to be here,” Jones said. “I have great respect for this organization, the Maras, the Tisches, my coaches and teammates. I’m happy we were able to come to an agreement.”
The Giants are paying the 25-year-old Jones more than they intended to in this contract. Negotiations were not easy. Jones switched agencies from CAA to Athletes First, pushing his start back to late February.
This went until the last moment.
But two factors drove this commitment: first, the organization believes in Jones, from the ownership down; and second, general manager Joe Schoen didn’t want to commit $32.4 million of his salary-cap space to a franchise quarterback tag, even though he had it as a last resort.
If he hadn’t re-signed Jones on Tuesday, Barkley would have moved into free agency as well.
“We had productive conversations with Daniel and his representatives over the course of the past week,” Schoen said. “We are all pleased that we were able to reach an agreement before today’s deadline. This gives us greater ability to continue building our roster.”
Instead, the Giants closed the Jones deal, so they were able to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Barkley. That gives the team until mid-July to agree to a multiyear extension with the running back, or he’ll play on a one-year, $10.1 million deal.
With Barkley tagged, that $10.1 million is no longer available to the Giants. But they’re still operating with around $37 million in space heading into next week’s free agency opener with other inside contracts to tackle, led by safety Julian Love.
( Emmitt Smith says Giants would be ‘dumb’ to let Saquon Barkley go )
Jones’ contract rewards the quarterback favorably compared to Derek Carr’s new contract with the Saints ($37.5 million per year) and Geno Smith’s new contract with the Seahawks ($25 million per year).
Jones’ $40 million annual average puts him in a three-way tie for seventh right now with the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott for average annual QB value.
The structure of Jones’ contract on the surface appears to mirror that of the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, which was agreed to when Schoen was an assistant GM at Buffalo. Allen earned $43 million per year, but can get to $48 million per year with incentives.
Carr, 31, will reportedly get a four-year, $150 million contract from New Orleans with $100 million in guarantees. The 32-year-old Smith is reportedly getting a three-year, $75 million contract with $40 million guaranteed at signing and an additional $30 million available in incentives.
Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens received the non-exclusive franchise tag Tuesday, opening the door for another suitor to sign him and net Baltimore two first-round picks.
Jackson, the Bengals’ Joe Burrow, the Chargers’ Justin Herbert and the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts are expected to make big profits soon, perhaps all of them this offseason.
It’s a little alarming that the Giants would accept $40 million or more with incentives considering Jones’ combined 3-10 record against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in the division after a 15-pass touchdown season.
However, Jones guided the Giants to their first playoff win since 2016, including a wild-card playoff road win at Minnesota.
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In that win, Jones became the first quarterback in NFL playoff history to throw for 300+ yards, throw two touchdown passes, and rush for 70+ rushing yards in the same game.
And part-owner John Mara was a staunch supporter of the 2019 sixth overall pick as their franchise quarterback since January 2022 when Schoen was first signed.
Mara hasn’t done an official group interview with local media in nearly a calendar year, but he was quoted as saying the Giants were “back” after beating the Vikings in this year’s postseason.
So, it would have been a major story if two months later, the Giants hadn’t locked up Jones long-term and instead focused elsewhere.
The most fascinating part of this saga is that the Giants turned down Jones’ fifth-year option last spring, and it was obvious that the long-term plan probably wasn’t going to include Jones unless he forced the Giants’ hand on another way with an unexpectedly strong blow. season.
Jones stepped up, bet on himself, guided the Giants back to the playoffs, then switched agents and kept the Giants on fire to make sure he got what he was owed.
Now, the Schoen-Brian Daboll regime is locked in with Jones as its quarterback, instead of going out to find its own. It’s time for Jones to look for a No. 1 receiver next. And it’s time for Jones to raise his game even higher to justify this.