We preface this — and all upcoming content about Daniel Jones’ free agency dance with the Giants — by saying it is early. Very, very early. We are mere hours into the NFL’s franchise tag window and a month out from the start of the new league year. A lot of things can and will change between now and then.
That said … if this is what the Giants are thinking, we’re going to be doing this for a while.
The Giants would like to keep Jones’ deal in the Kirk Cousins vicinity — an average of $35 million per year — but it is believed Jones is thinking Dak Prescott territory ($40 million per year) or even the Kyler Murray stratosphere (average of $46 million annually). That could lead to the (franchise) tag for Jones, at least for now.
Everyone who panned the idea Jones would demand $45 million a year should do the same if the Giants want him to take $35 million a year — barely more than the 2023 franchise tag figure. Because that would be a colossal lowball. If you want to compare Jones to Cousins as a player, fine. But it’s disingenuous to say their average annual value should be the same, because Cousins’ contracts with the Vikings have been fully guaranteed. That will almost assuredly not be the case with whatever deal the Giants strike with Jones in the end.
MORE: Craig Carton laughs off Daniel Jones’ reported Giants demands
Cousins has stayed away from the AAV game in return for being guaranteed every dime he signs for. It’s realistic accounting, not voodoo math so players and agents can look good on Adam Schefter’s Twitter feed. Russell Wilson technically makes $48 million a year with the Broncos, for example. But if/when they cut him after the 2025 season, he’ll have only made $40 million a year over the duration of the contract.
Even if the Giants did give Jones $45 million a year on paper, he would likely never recoup that. But if he signed for $35 million a year, he likely wouldn’t recoup that either. Which, to be clear, is far more laughable than him asking for the higher number. Both sides have to start somewhere in negotiations. But if the Giants are starting at $35 million, they are not being serious.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.