The New York Giants have a giant decision to make when it comes to quarterback Daniel Jones’ future.
Jones made marked improvements in 2023, trimming his interception total to 5, after averaging 8.5 through the first four seasons of his career, while leading the Giants to a road victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs.
However, Jones only threw 15 touchdown passes in 16 starts, and passed for just 135 yards with an interception in a disappointing performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.
So, what is Jones’ value, after the Giants opted not to exercise his fifth-year option prior to this season?
“He’d command at least $30 million annually,” a prominent NFL agent familiar with the quarterback market told Heavy.
After finishing 9-7-1, breaking a five-year playoff drought despite a roster with fringe NFL talent at key positions such as wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback, it is obvious that the Giants are far from a finished product. Creating another hole, at the most important position in sports, would not be ideal for general manager Joe Schoen if the Giants are going to take a step forward.
“I think the Giants will wind up paying [Jones],” the agent predicts. “Because the question everyone forgets to ask themselves on these things is, what is plan B?”
The most likely outcome seems to be Jones returning to East Rutherford in some form or fashion in 2023.
But, Schoen and the Giants likely have three options; allow Jones to test free agency where there are at least a half dozen quarterback needy teams that could come knocking for the No. 6 overall pick in 2019, sign Jones to a long-term contract potentially in the ballpark of $30 million per season, or use the franchise tag, which would commit upwards of $32.5 million to Jones for one more season in 2023.
“We’d like Daniel to be here,” Schoen told reporters on Jan. 24. “He said it yesterday, there’s a business side to it. We feel like Daniel played well this season, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. There’s a business side to it. … we would like to have Daniel Jones back.”
New York enters the offseason with approximately $45.06 million in cap space, but in addition to determining whether to commit to Jones long-term Schoen and the Giants must also must decide whether to retain running back Saquon Barkley.
In all likelihood, Jones will be the first domino to fall and the most impactful decision the organization will make.
Should the New York Giants Commit to Daniel Jones Long-Term?
Jones completed set new career-highs in completion percentage (67.2) and passing yards (3,205), in his first season in Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s scheme, while leading the Giants on five 4th quarter comebacks in 2022.
Whether Jones showed enough to cement his status as the Giants’ franchise quarterback of the future, is more of an open-question than ever following New York’s “crash landing” in Philadelphia.
“It’s hard not to commit to Jones,” an AFC Scouting Director told Heavy. “But, I feel even though Daniel made strides, he still isn’t a championship-level quarterback.
“The problem for the Giants is how can they acquire that player this offseason? They probably can’t. Especially because they’re still building a team, and need a quarterback to do that with and try to win with right now.”
For all of the precise chords Schoen and Daboll struck since their arrival in East Rutherford, deciding not to exercise Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023 was a misstep. As a result, the Giants must make a significant decision on how committed the organization is to Jones, without the benefit of one more team-friendly season to evaluate him.
“Now, they’re kind of stuck,” the Scouting Director said. “But, I wouldn’t commit too many years to Jones. I would honestly like to see one more season to see if he can continue that upward trajectory.”