Folks, there’s been a lot of talk in Giants circles recently about extending Daniel Jones. I, like many Giants fans, don’t want to extend Daniel Jones. I think it would be best for the future of this team to get a player with franchise carrying potential and not a game manager.
With that being said, I don’t want to waste my time talking about that today. You all know how I feel about Daniel Jones. Signing Jones to a long term contract would be a massive mistake and it would hamper the Giants ability to reach a championship level ceiling.
But I keep seeing comments from fans who want to sign Jones to a long term contract saying that he will take $15M per year which simply isn’t realistic. If Jones is signed beyond a tag of some sort, there’s no way he signs for less than $30M per year in today’s NFL.
There are currently fourteen quarterbacks in the NFL who have an average annual value of at least $29.5M per year: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and Ryan Tannehill.
There are also six to eight quarterbacks on rookie deals who will absolutely be above that figure soon: Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Justin Fields, and Tua Tagovailoa. Daniel Jones could absolutely be on this list as well.
As you can see, at any given time that roughly 2/3 starting quarterbacks are making $30M per year or worth $30M per year. Saying that Daniel Jones is going to take $15-20M per season is a horrible take and it simply will not happen when he has all the leverage to say “if you want to keep me at that price then tag me” this offseason.
So what can the Giants do with Daniel Jones should they want to extend him? As far as I see it, they have three options.
Option 1: Apply the exclusive franchise tag, non-exclusive franchise tag, or transition tag to Daniel Jones
In my eyes, a tag of sorts is the most likely option. The exclusive franchise tag would be too pricey for a quarterback of Jones’s ability (game manager) as it comes in at about $45M this offseason.
I think that most Giants fans would agree that the this is a bad option.
But what about the non-exclusive franchise tag or the transition tag? According to Joel Corry of CBS sports, the non-exclusive franchise tags projects to be in the neighborhood of $32M in 2023. This would be a lot more reasonable for Daniel Jones on a one year deal.
Jones would also have the right to sign with another team if he was tagged with the non-exclusive tag and the other team would have to give the Giants two first round picks. I sincerely doubt a team would give up that kind of capital for Jones so it’s probably a safe bet to apply that tag over the exclusive franchise tag.
Lastly, the transition tag was worth $29M in 2022. Numbers for 2023 haven’t been released yet. With the transition tag, the team has the right to match any deal offered to the free agent player by another team.
The other part of a tag being given to Daniel Jones that is important to note: If the non-exclusive tag or the transition tag is applied, it doesn’t necessarily prevent the Giants from adding a quarterback in the draft or via trade and then trading Daniel Jones to another team. Daniel Jones would simply be the insurance policy. Jones would likely fetch a day two pick from a team on a one year, prove it cap hit.
Option 2: Give Daniel Jones a bridge deal with an AAV of $30M and $60-65M guaranteed
The Giants could opt to give Daniel Jones that essentially makes him the quarterback “for now” in the sense that they give him a bridge deal for three years with an out after two years. I personally would not be a fan of this at all, but it’s an option that could be on the table this offseason if the Giants decide they want to keep him.
For the fans thinking that he would take a deal worth less than $30M per year, I point you to the tag price from above. If the Giants offer him less than $30M per year, he can just say “tag me” and play on a prove it deal. A three year contract extension for Jones would likely be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 years/$90-100M with $60-70M guaranteed.
Signing Jones to a bridge deal would also allow the team to apply the franchise tag to Saquon Barkley, who shouldn’t be signed long term under any circumstance.
Option 3: Sign Daniel Jones to a long-term contract
This is the option virtually nobody wants. Even the biggest Jonesers in the world have reservations about signing Daniel Jones to a long term deal. Would you be willing to give Daniel Jones a five year contract worth upwards of $140-170M? I sure wouldn’t. This is the least likely option of the first two but if Jones was a slam dunk franchise quarterback, he’d probably be somewhere in this range or even higher.