3 Instant Reactions to Daniel Jones’ $160M Giants Contract, Saquon Barkley Tag

3 Instant Reactions to Daniel Jones’ $160M Giants Contract, Saquon Barkley Tag
Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMarch 7, 2023

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in action during an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The New York Giants’ backfield is here to stay.

Quarterback Daniel Jones and Big Blue have agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract with $82 million guaranteed and $35 million in incentives, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Running back Saquon Barkley will be around for at least one more year after the Giants placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him for $10.1 million.

Those two helped guide the Giants to their first playoff appearance since 2016 and first playoff win since 2011.

They’ll look to build off a successful 2022 season now. In the interim, here’s a look at three instant reactions to the Giants’ moves.

A Massive Win for Jones

There were significant questions about Jones’ future with the Giants after they declined his fifth-year option for 2022 following a disappointing three-year start to his career. There was certainly a scenario where Jones struggled in 2022 and the Giants simply parted ways with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

Instead, Jones flourished in 2022 under new head coach Brian Daboll and started realizing. his potential. Jones eventually led his team to its first postseason appearance since 2016 and playoff win since 2011.

Jones notably starred against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Round with 379 total yards (301 passing, 78 rushing) and two passing touchdowns.

But now he’s the owner of a huge contract and will be staying in New York long term.

Jones changed agencies to Athletes First for these negotiations, and he’s ultimately come out a huge winner with $82 million guaranteed coming his way.

Buying Time for Barkley

It’s possible that the Giants are using the franchise tag on Barkley to buy themselves more time to ink a long-term deal.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported that sentiment and even said there was a possibility a deal could get done before the start of free agency on May 15:

Jordan Raanan @JordanRaanan

Wouldn’t be surprised to see a long-term deal for Saquon Barkley follow relatively soon. Before the start of free agency. https://t.co/EV4PAXu4lK

Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports also said the Giants covet a long-term deal:

Ralph Vacchiano @RalphVacchiano

It’s possible the franchise tag will only be a place-holder for RB Saquon Barkley. A source said the Giants are hopeful of signing him to a long-term deal sooner than later.

The sides have some work to do. They weren’t close in numbers while the Giants worked on Jones’ deal.

That would certainly behoove the Giants’ salary cap situation in 2023, as Connor Hughes of SNY noted:

Connor Hughes @Connor_J_Hughes

Just like by extending Jones, the #Giants can lessen Saquon Barkley’s cap hit this year by reaching an extension with him. That means more money to spend in free agency.

I can think of a wideout who might be pretty pumped to to join the two … https://t.co/e92s2IgUku

The vibes between Barkley and the Giants front office were reportedly good Monday, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

While the #Giants work on Daniel Jones’ deal, GM Joe Schoen briefly met with RB Saquon Barkley today, sources say. Positive meeting, by all accounts, with the continued hope from both sides they can make it work. Let’s see what happens with Jones first.

The two sides have until July 17 to get a long-term deal done, or Barkley will stay on the tag.

Time for Giants GM Joe Schoen To Get To Work

The Giants have made a significant investment in Jones and may make one soon for Barkley. But there’s more work to be done on the offense to build around their stars.

For starters, it would behoove the Giants to ink a long-term deal ASAP with left tackle Andrew Thomas, an absolute stalwart on the blind side.

However, other changes need to be made.

There are significant questions about who will start on the interior offensive line, which struggled last year.

Darius Slayton and Richie James, two of the three top wide receivers for the Giants last year, are free agents. Isaiah Hodgins is back, and 2022 second-rounder Wan’Dale Robinson should return from a torn ACL. But the Giants clearly need to provide Jones with more reinforcements at the position.

At any rate, Jones’ contract provides some cap flexibility for year one, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Daniel Jones’ Year 1 cap hit should come in around $19M, I’m told, which seemingly provides flexibility in free agency to address a few positions.

The Giants also have four draft picks in the first 100 selections in this year’s draft to add new personnel.

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