Daniel Jones giants
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

At this time last year, who thought the Giants would be working against the clock to hammer out a lucrative multi-year deal to retain quarterback Daniel Jones? Just about nobody, that’s who. Not the fans, and probably not general manager Joe Schoen or head coach Brian Daboll, either.

That’s why New York decided against exercising the fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie contract. Now, both sides have until 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday to agree on a multi-year deal. If that doesn’t happen, the Giants will use the franchise tag on Jones, which is worth $32.4 million for next year.

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reported that using the tag on Jones isn’t a preferred outcome for the Giants or Jones. That’s been pretty obvious. There have been reports of Jones’ camp asking for more than $45 million per year. However, it sounds like both sides are committed to getting something done. As Schwartz said himself, the Giants want Jones and Jones wants the Giants.

There’s optimism a deal can get done without having to resort to the franchise tag. What could that look like? Here’s what Schwartz shared as a “logical” outcome:

The logical outcome for Jones is a four- or five-year deal averaging close to or perhaps reaching $40 million per year, with somewhere near $100 million in guaranteed money.

He also mentioned a way for New York to fudge the numbers a bit. The Giants and Jones could agree to structure his next contract in a way that backloads his payday. While it’d still look like he’s a $40-million-per-year quarterback, he’d actually be paid less than that over the first three years.

That would give the Giants the necessary flexibility to build their roster. As it currently stands, New York has about $50 million in cap space ahead of 2023. Franchise tagging Jones would eat up more than half of that, which is why everyone is pushing for a multi-year deal. If it does, the Giants and Jones can structure it however they want. That flexibility goes away with the tag.

The countdown is on, so we’ll see within the next few hours if both sides can agree to terms.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.