Conversations over Daniel Jones’ contract with the Giants have dictated the past three weeks with nine straight days of meetings to close it out. But it all came down to the final minutes before the franchise deadline on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
General Manager Joe Schoen told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that they had tried to set a deadline for Tuesday noon so as not to scramble. This has not been achieved. One staffer even raised concerns that Wi-Fi might be an issue with a clock down, and the Giants had several emails ready to go depending on the outcome.
But even though they put pressure on themselves, it still happened in the final minutes.
“It got a little risky (Tuesday),” Schoen said. “As he arrived at 3:30 a.m., 3:40 a.m., part of me was like, ‘We might not make it to the finish line.’ But in the last four or five minutes, we tied a bow on it, thankfully.
Jones was at the Giants facility when one of his agents approached him around 3:53 or 3:54 p.m. with the deal. He agreed, and the Giants were able to complete a four-year, $160 million deal without tagging the quarterback. This allowed the Giants to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley instead. Jones signed his contract on Tuesday night, then went out to dinner with friends and his agents to celebrate.
“I took the tab,” Jones said with a laugh.
Schoen mentioned last week in the scouting meeting that he told the quarterback when it came to negotiations that things might get worse before they get better.
“I think there were probably times when you had more confidence and times when you had less confidence,” Jones said. “But I wanted to find a way out of it, and that was the goal. That was really my mindset, and I’m glad we did. I’m delighted to be back.
Schoen called the signing a big relief for everyone.
“It was quite stressful over the three weeks as we went through the process,” Schoen said. “But then, with the lack of time at the end, it was just added stress until the deadline. I think there was a feeling of relief on all parties afterwards… (I have ) gives big hugs.
One of the biggest priorities this offseason was getting Jones to a long-term deal to not only get a quarterback, but also free up space to surround him as the Giants continue to rebuild. . Jones’s situation was also tied to Barkley’s future: if Jones were to be franchised, that meant Barkley’s future was a bit murkier. Jones said when it came to negotiations, he tried to strike a balance.
“In a situation like this, you try to do what’s best for you and your family while balancing being part of a team and understanding the goals and the vision that we have as team and as an organization,” Jones said. “It was certainly important to me throughout the transaction. And I think we found a way to do those two things and do it the right way for both parties. It was certainly important to me. Saquon – I said it, he means a lot to me as a teammate, as a friend. And he means a lot to us as a player. So I won’t talk about his business. But that was part of it. Also. “
Now, both are pieces of the Giants’ future. Extension talks with Barkley representatives date back to the bye week, but the sides apparently weren’t close to an agreement at this stage. The Giants’ offer at the time was estimated to be around $12 million a year, per Athleticismis Dan Duggan. The one-year franchise tag cost for running backs in 2023 is $10.1 million. Schoen said he spoke with Barkley on Tuesday before they placed the tag on him and would speak again on Wednesday. They will continue their negotiations.
“Right now it’s under the franchise label,” Schoen said. “As we build the team and continue with our offseason plan, we will do what is best for the team. We are still mapping that.
Barkley had said at the end of the season that no one would really like to be tagged as a franchise, instead wanting the stability of a longer-term deal. Although Schoen has yet to speak in depth with Barkley, he said both sides know it’s an option if they can’t reach an agreement by the deadline.
“If he’s frustrated, I can relate to some of that,” Schoen said. “We could also be frustrated that we could not reach an agreement. I like Saquon. He’s a good player. He will be part of this team in the future. We’ll see where it goes from here.
With the quarterback situation settled and Barkley receiving the tag, Schoen can focus primarily on filling out the rest of the roster. The Giants will have plenty of cap space without having to use the expensive tag on Jones who would have been a $32.4 million hit. They will continue contract extension talks and conversations with free agents like safety Julian Love before the start of free agency next week. Additionally, they have at least nine draft picks with the ability to add more through the compensatory draft system.
“I don’t want to say it’s starting construction, because we’ve made some moves in the last year and through the project and some waiver wire claims that are always going to be there,” Schoen said. “But that’s finally where we have the flexibility and the project capital, (our) second project class. And we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.
(Top photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)