It’s been just under a week since the Giants re-signed Daniel Jones. And now that all of the contractual details have emerged, we have a conclusion: They like Jones, they are not completely convinced about him and general manager Joe Schoen won the negotiations decisively.
On paper, Jones signed a four-year, $160 million deal. In reality, he signed a two-year, $82 million deal. Monday’s in-depth SI.com tick-tock about the negotiations makes it clear the Giants fought for there to be no mechanism guaranteeing Jones a dime after the 2024 season. They succeeded, which means they can cut him after two years under reasonable terms — $18 million in dead salary cap space, but $21.5 million in cap savings.
And then there is the elaborate incentive scheme:
In our story on Daniel Jones' negotiation with the @Giants, we mentioned a complex set of incentives. Didn't fit in the structure of the story (https://t.co/HwEUtNYsWt), but we'll give it to you here.
Key = maxes at $35 million, but there are $63 million in triggers available. pic.twitter.com/sQfEQywEI1
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2023
None of the benchmarks are unrealistic. But apply them to Jones’ career to date and he would have earned just $2.25 million extra — $1.5 million for making the playoffs and winning a wild card round game and $750,000 in on-field production bonuses. And there is no guarantee he will regularly hit those numbers, much less max things out.
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From our vantage point: The Giants got Jones re-signed with a lower 2023 cap hit. They were able to use the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley. They recovered from the bad fifth-year option luck quite well. And they have two more years to see if Jones is who they hope he is. And if he is not, there is a viable escape hatch around the corner. As for Jones and his agents? They got to — relatively credibly — trumped an annual average value north of $40 million with another chance to earn more money and, maybe, a chance to truly cash in in 2025 if all goes well.
The winner seems pretty obvious, no? It’s the Giants, not Jones. Now to see how it all plays out.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.