To those still clinging onto the Daniel Jones discount hope: Give it up.
The quarterback has earned a massive new contract. And the Giants have no choice but to give him it. The only question now is how big. And the price is only going up after Jones’ sensational performance in Sunday’s playoff win over the Vikings.
There are some guardrails in place. Jones is not going to beat Patrick Mahomes’ total value ($450 million) or Deshaun Watson’s guaranteed value ($230 million) or Aaron Rodgers’ average annual value ($50 million). And the Giants should be able to keep him below what the Bills gave Josh Allen and the Broncos gave Russell Wilson.
But after that? It’s all on the table for Jones. He and his agent have immense leverage right now. He had a tremendous prove-it season, he would be in high demand if he made it to free agency and the Giants have no other viable option.
A good starting point for speculation: Five years, $235 million, $47 million AAV. That slots Jones below Wilson and ahead of the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray in terms of AAV and total value. Guaranteed money is trickier to project because the Browns’ desperation move to fully guarantee Watson’s deal skews everything. Wilson got $124 million fully guaranteed at signing, so let’s say Jones will be looking for around that.
This is why we continue to believe the Giants will likely need to use the franchise tag on Jones. The tag window starts Feb. 21 and runs until March 7, with free agency opening March 13. So the Giants have time to hammer out a deal with Jones. But it might be hard for the sides to close the gap quickly enough, especially if Jones rightfully seeks the highest ground possible.
Tagging Jones would come with complications for the Giants. They would be tying up half their projected cap space with the $32 million tag hit. And they would not be able to use a tag on Saquon Barkley, which increases the odds of losing the running back on the open market. But Jones has become far more important to the Giants’ long-term future than Barkley. They cannot risk losing him. And the only way to ensure he stays put, aside from a pre-market agreement, is the tag.
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