Could a short-term deal work for Daniel Jones and the Giants?

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Plenty of things have been written and said in the aftermath of last weekend’s flurry of reporting regarding the decision of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones to change agents. We haven’t responded to each and every report or take that questioned that notion (as floated here) that Jones is looking for $45 million or more per year.

Now that the dust has settled on various dribs and drabs of news and reactions to the news about Jones, here’s a few things to ponder as the March 7 deadline for applying the franchise tag inches closer.

First, someone suggested that the $45 million figure came from CAA, in an effort to make Jones look bad after Jones fired CAA and hired Athletes First. Although I never reveal sources, I’ll say in this instance that the source was not CAA or anyone who got the information from anyone at CAA. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I’ve got theories as to why someone would leak to someone else the idea that the number was the product of CAA sour grapes but, again, that’s all I’ll say about that.

Second, I got no pushback from anyone connected to the situation. Not from the Giants, not from the agents, not from anyone. While that’s not entirely dispositive as to the accuracy of the information, I’ve gotten plenty of calls and texts over the years when someone strenuously objected to something I wrote or said.

Third, some have said there were never any offers exchanged between the Giants and Jones. While there may have never been any formal offers, why would Jones fire CAA and hire Athletes First if Jones if CAA hadn’t been trying to get him a deal? There’s no reason to fire CAA unless Jones isn’t happy with their work. He wasn’t upgrading from Slappy McSlapperson to a major firm. He went from one major firm to another major firm.

Even without formal offers being exchanged, discussions were happening and numbers were being mentioned and it became clear that: (1) there was a major divide; and (2) Jones wasn’t happy with CAA’s effort to close the gap.

Fourth, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News confirmed that Jones changed agents because he wants more than what CAA was going to be able to get. Again, that doesn’t happen if numbers aren’t being exchanged, even if there aren’t formal offers being made.

Fifth, $45 million isn’t an absurd demand, given the current market, Jones’s performance in 2022, the Giants’ current alternatives, and the ever-increasing nature of the salary cap. For quarterbacks, the ball is moving north of $50 million per year. And while the team-friendly Patrick Mahomes contract makes it hard for lesser quarterbacks (i.e., every other quarterback on the planet) to get more, it’s important to view the Mahomes deal as the exception and not the rule. (And, yes, he should be banging on owner Clark Hunt’s door right now, demanding a modification to his ultra-long-term deal.)

Sixth, and finally, is there an alternative to Jones and the Giants playing the Kirk Cousins franchise-tag game, with Jones tagged for two years and then leaving? Maybe. During a Friday conversation with John Schmeelk of the Giants Huddle podcast, Schmeelk floated the idea of a short-term deal for Jones and the Giants. The more I talked through it, the more sense it made.

If the Giants were to offer Jones a two-year contract that fully guarantees the money he’d make under the tag over the next two years ($32.416 million for 2023 plus a 20-percent raise for 2024), that’s $71.315 million in all, an average of $35.65 million.

But what about 2025? Under the tag dance, Jones would get a 44-percent increase over what he’s due to make in 2024. That’s $56 million or a ticket to free agency.

So what if the Giants offer $71.315 million over two years, fully guaranteed, with an agreement that he won’t be tagged in 2025? It would give both sides two years to work out a long-term deal, and it would give the Giants two years to confirm that 2022 wasn’t an aberration.

This gives Jones certainty for two years, shifting that risk that he’ll get injured or regress in 2023 to the Giants. Basically, he gets a guarantee of two years of franchise-tag money.

What’s in it for the Giants, you ask? Well, Jones would be under contract. If he’s tagged, he can (if he chooses) withhold services until just before the start of the season. (Of course, he possibly wouldn’t do that, because he’d also be hurting himself if he weren’t ready for the 2023 season.)

This approach also would free up the franchise tag to be applied on running back Saquon Barkley. Which will help Jones perform even better in 2023.

Absent something creative like that, it’s likely going to be the franchise tag for Jones. If he’s looking for anything more than $35 million per year (and he is), why wouldn’t the Giants offer $32.416 million for one year and see if he can replicate in 2023 what he did in 2022?

30 responses to “Could a short-term deal work for Daniel Jones and the Giants?

  1. If it’s true, might as well try Carr for $35 million. They still need WRs or it won’t matter who they get.

  2. That’s not a bad idea as it frees up the tag for Barkley (as stated). Of course, Jones has to be willing to go for it. Schoen could simply say, “Well, if you dont go for it, you’re going to get tagged ANYWAY and we lose Barkley”. That would obviously lead to bad blood.

    Something has to be figured out with these QB contracts. There arent more than 4-5 QB’s in the NFL who deserve to tie up close to 20% of their teams cap…..and yet middling QB’s like Jones (Im a Giants fan) are looking to get paid like they are top 5 QB’s.

  3. Do you know what is absurd saying this statement “45 million isn’t an absurd demand,” can someone explain to me why the media continues to push these huge contracts for the quarterbacks. Do they not not know this is a salary cap league. Every extra dollar you give the quarterback is one less dollar to pay the rest of the team. Look what Dallas had to do to Dak and they didn’t have any money left for anyone else. This is ridiculous paying this high price for these quarterbacks who aren’t A-list come on.

  4. I never liked the idea of giving the next QB the highest contract just cause he’s next. I understand that’s how it’s done, but I don’t like it.

    However, if you are going to overpay, there are QBs who are worth it and QBs who are not. Hurts is worth it. Daniel Jones is not.

    Everyone talks about Jones’ improvement and I say what improvement? He threw less INTs and had less than 200 yards more than his best season. Ok, but he was remarkably similar in every other stat, including yards per attempt where he ranked 25th.

    QBs either greater yards per attempt than Jones: Jimmy g, tannenhill, Goff, Dalton, mariota, Heinicke, Brissett, fields, Zach Wilson. A who’s who of chumps.

    So buyer beware.

  5. I disagree that Jones wanting $45 is not absurd. IMO, it is the definition of insanity. He has not proven himself. He took a step from bad toward mediocre this season. Can he improve? Can he stay healthy? How would the Giants build a team around him with that kind of cap hit? He definitely needs a lot of support, he is not a put the team on his back guy. Some already complain that he doesn’t have help at WR, but they have tried the free agent route, shelling out money for Kenny Golladay. Why was Golladay a bust with them, his numbers dropping off a cliff? Was it Golladay or going from Matt Stafford as his QB to having Daniel Jones? I say it was going from Stafford to Jones. People blamed Jones’s receivers at Duke as well. The common denominator is Jones. In the current QB market, I would take Washington’s approach, giving Sam Howell a shot on a rookie QB every time over paying someone like Jones insane money when he has proven over several years that he isn’t worth it. If the young guy hits, you struck gold. If he doesn’t, you keep looking, without the albatross of a horrible contract sinking you for years.

  6. Someone said it, but there has to be a shift at some point with these QB deals. There is no way a team can tie up that much capital in Daniel Jones level talent.

  7. Thinking I would offer the non exclusive franchise tag to Jones because I doubt any team would be willing to part with two 1st round picks to sign him. If no other team makes an offer Jones might be willing to be more reasonable with the Giants. If another team makes an offer it’s a win-win for them. Either they get Jones under a long term deal or get two 1st rounders. To be honest if I were the Giants I would be hoping for Jones to get an offer and get the picks and look for another QB.

  8. I really feel like the Giants can do much better than Jones. I just don’t see him as the QB that can take them to that next level and beat the better teams in the NFC.

  9. Maybe he signed with Athletes First because they are a boutique agency that specializes in representing starting QBs. CAA has way too many other competing interests.

  10. $45 million is an absurd amount
    Yet people think Lamar isn’t worth that SMH
    Derek Carr is asking $35 million
    Jones should be $32 Maximum

  11. Even though no one seems to talk about it, why not use the transition tag and see what other teams offer? I think Jones will be disappointed in the offers he gets and will then be more reasonable with his demands of the Giants. If not the Giants can match any offer or let him go. Any team that pays him $45 million a year is doomed to mediocrity since he isn’t good enough to make up for the cap constrained situation that contract would create.

  12. Non-exclusive tag him and see if he gets offers. If he does, take the two picks and offer Carr +/-$25-30M. Jones is not seeing over $35M/year.

  13. Frankly even $30 mil is too much for Jones!
    Personally I think Giants should get rid, by put him on a non exclusive tag, but No one will offer him that kind of money in a trade and a couple of 1st round picks.
    Ultimately his new agents will not get him more money than CAA and he may yet end up on the scrap heap within 2 years

  14. When I hear these numbers I realize first ballot HOF QB Russell Wilson will need to be renegotiated. Likely $75M per year for 5 with $250M guaranteed. That would be fair. Broncos need to do it while they still have leveraged.

    Bronco Nation – Let’s Ride!

  15. Challenge with this is, the only benefit is the Giants could use the tag on someone else. Jones doesn’t get any more money than he would if he were tagged twice (but it does protect him if he craps the bed this season). And the Giants do not gain any salary cap flexibility – as a longer term deal would allow for a signing bonus, and money spread out over 3-5 seasons. Frankly, paying an injury plagued running back $10 million (or more) with the tag, isn’t a wise investment.

    Don’t see this as a viable option.

  16. I understand the sentiment that $45M is outrageous for non-elite QBs and I agree. However, the NFL has piles of $$$ to throw around (which the agents exploit), the salary cap keeps increasing (which the agents exploit) and a mid-level QB is still much better than a low-level QB in the court of public opinion (which the agents exploit). It’s exactly why the Vikings have stayed with Cousins for the last 5 years.
    In my mind $35M/yr is exactly where Jones should be in the current market. He improved a lot this past year, he has passing and running capabilities and he generally seems to be team player – except for the $45M demand (if that’s real). He also has room for growth, he’s only 25 years old, his ceiling is still unknown.
    BTW, I’m not a Giants fan but it was good to have the Giants competitive again this year. Get ‘er done.

  17. 2 year contract is a Foolish idea. The main reason the Giants want a long term deal is it will give them far more options to reduce the cap number this year. Also the Giants insiders realize that Jones is far better than Carr who has never won a playoff game in his nine years with the Raiders and has had far better receivers. The 45 million number is totally irrelevant, the real number that Jones signs for will be published on March 6th is the only number that counts and it will be significantly lower than 45 million.

  18. Boy, the Giants must really think they’ve arrived as a Super Bowl contender after that 9-7-1 record. Has everyone forgotten the 3-6-1 record in the last 10 games, that all their wins were against bad teams or at least teams that were bad when they played them, and that the entire football world was calling them frauds? Congratulations on winning a playoff game against a historically bad defense but the Eagles showed they are not close. Jones had 15 TD passes and a 92.5 passer rating, which looks great compared to his previous years but not compared to the rest of the quarterbacks in the league. He is the epitome of a guy who should get a middle-class QB contract, which doesn’t exist now but should. Guys who haven’t proved anything and are no better than mediocre shouldn’t be getting elite money and a smart GM wouldn’t even consider it. They can’t find a journeyman quarterback who could do the same things Jones did last year, or provide a bridge to a rookie who might actually turn into a star? Let him hit free agency and you’ll see that no one will pay him north of $30 million a year and probably not close to that.

  19. Would the union like this?

    You could plausibly put as many players as you want under the franchise tag with this tactic.

  20. 2 years $70 mil fully guaranteed,.. he’d have to listen. Heck,. add a 3rd year non guaranteed to spread his cap numbers out,.. and you can still promise he gets a new deal before the 3rd year or he gets released and he can seek a new home.

  21. Jones is not worth anything close to that. Jacoby Brissett put up very statistics and you could sign him as a bridge for much less, there’s nothing special about Daniel Jones. If I were Daboll I’d either look to sign Derek Carr or just franchise Daniel Jones and then draft a QB to start developing behind Jones possibly moving up for Anthony Richardson, taking QB Tanner McKee in RD2 out of Stanford or Henson Hooker top of RD3 who’s a late 1st rd talent but who will be available later because of his acl tear he’s coming off. Fresno States Jacob Haener in late RD3 or RD4 is very very intriguing to. There are several options that are much cheaper and who would be upgrades over Jones. Carr is only looking for $35M he’d be a massive upgrade of DJ.

  22. It’s wild to me that Jones’ 3900 yd, 22 TD, 9 turnover (Rushing + Passing season) is going to get him $45M while Geno Smith’s 4300 yd, 31 TD, 17 turnover season while get him less than that, and that Jones is seen as more valuable

  23. Why would the Giants do a 2-year deal that guarantees franchise tag rates? That’s just bad business.

    The franchise tag is supposed to be MORE lucrative for the player than the average year under a multi-year deal because the player is assuming the risk of injury or skill decline.

    Any multi-year deal, even if it’s just 2 years, should be LOWER cost to the team because the team is assuming some of the risk of injury or skill decline.

    The best move for both the Giants and Daniel Jones is the non-exclusive franchise tag. Frankly, that’s best move for almost all of the pending QB free agents and their teams.

    Let’s allow the actual market to set the market value rather than the silly franchise tag dance.

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