Did you think the Daniel Jones-Giants contract negotiations would be smooth and an agreement would be made in short order? If so, you’ve been sorely disappointed with how things have gone so far.
The NFL’s franchise tag window just opened. New York could use it on either Jones or Saquon Barkley. However, general manager Joe Schoen isn’t rushing to use a franchise tag just yet. Teams have until March 7th to make these kinds of decisions. And, in a perfect world, the Giants would agree to multi-year contracts with both of their most important offensive players from this past season.
Because he’s the quarterback, Jones’ situation is the more important one to figure out. What happens between New York and the signal-caller will likely dictate how the rest of the offseason goes for Big Blue. Things have taken a turn according to recent reports, as Jones is switching agencies, from CAA to Athletes First. That new representation is also looking for a deal that’d net him $40-45 million per year.
The Giants are reportedly hoping to sign their quarterback to a deal in the vicinity of $35 million, so there’s a sizable gap here (without even considering guaranteed money). Could this lead to Jones getting tagged and playing on a one-year deal before having a chance to cash in once again?
It’s certainly possible. But is this concerning? No, not at all.
First of all, Jones is fresh off a breakout season where he was a key cog in the Giants’ remarkable turnaround, which resulted in reaching the playoffs. After not getting his fifth-year option exercised, it’s only fitting that he tries to secure the bag. He has all the leverage. Not only did he prove he could perform in New York, but he’s also familiar with the coaching staff and the current offensive scheme. And since Mike Kafka isn’t leaving for a head-coaching job, there will finally be some continuity on offense.
But honestly, have you ever heard of an impact player’s representation and a team immediately agreeing on that player’s value in contract negotiations? I suppose it happens on occasion. It’s not frequent, though. This is how negotiations work.
Jones’ camp knows they’re working with a salary floor of about $32 million (the value of the non-exclusive franchise tag). If they want to end up as close to $40 million as possible, the initial ask needs to surpass what they’d ultimately be willing to accept. As for the Giants, retaining Jones — or replacing him with another veteran QB — is going to be an expensive endeavor. Schoen’s job is to try and mitigate that as much as possible. But still, he’s going to come in lower to see if he can save a few bucks.
We’ve all experienced this with salary negotiations for our own jobs. It’s just a little different when there are millions of dollars at stake and negotiations are taking place in a rather public manner.
Both sides are just trying to see how much they can squeeze out of one another. And it’s completely understandable as to why. It’s still so early in the offseason/franchise tag window. We’re definitely in wait-and-see mode before there’s any cause for legitimate concern over one of these reports.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8