Giants Meeting Agents of Top Free Agent 24 Hours Before Franchise Tag Deadline

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley

Getty The New York Giants are meeting representatives of their top free agent 24 hours before the franchise tag deadline.

The deadline for applying the franchise tag is fast approaching, but the New York Giants still haven’t resolved the futures of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Things could be about to change, though, amid news Jones’ agents will make a trip to meet with the Giants “in person.”

Details of the meeting were reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo: “Possible good sign for the #Giants and Daniel Jones: Sources say Jones’ agents are traveling to Jersey today to meet with the #Giants in person after talking many times at the Scouting Combine. A little more than a day to go before the franchise-tag deadline. Still time.”

As Garafolo noted, teams are running out of time to use the franchise tag. The deadline is Tuesday, March 7 at 4 p.m. ET.

Ideally, Giants’ general manager Joe Schoen would like to keep his starting signal-caller in the fold, but Jones has already made significant salary demands. Those demands could push the Giants toward using the tag, a ploy set to cost £32,416,000, per Over The Cap.

Giants Getting Closer to Resolution With Most Important Free Agent

Jones is the most important of the Giants’ free agents, simply because he plays the most important position in the NFL. Few teams can win consistently without a competent QB1, and that’s just what Jones was last season.

He threw for a career-high 3,205 yards, but just 15 touchdowns. Jones did contribute 708 yards and seven scores on the ground.

The numbers prompted Jones to ask for $45 million per year, according to Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo. There is a growing sentiment around the NFL those demands, or something close to them, are likely to be met.

A “four-year deal in excess of $160 million” is expected by “some around the league,” per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Things are moving in the right direction, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated: “Now, my understanding is that the Giants, as we said Friday, were between $35 million and $39 million per with their offers, and Jones’s side was still over $40 million. But the gap between the two isn’t the Gulf of Mexico.”

A more in-depth idea of what Jones’ next contract might look like is provided by co-founder Michael Ginnitti:

There’s a clear blueprint for what the Giants can pay Jones if they give him multiple years. Yet, that’s just one solution. Using the tag is another.

Using the Tag Still Has Merit for Giants

Lombardo provided one of the more interesting notes about Jones’ contract situation when he said “Schoen may need to use the franchise tag to keep the exclusive negotiation window open.”

This is a scenario where the Giants can make the tag work for them, in more ways than one. First, using the exclusive tag would leave Jones only able to negotiate with the Giants, reducing his options, but also increasing the chances he’ll finally agree a new long-term deal with Big Blue.

Alternatively, Schoen and the front office could make Jones a present of the non-exclusive tag. He’d be free to negotiate with other teams, but the Giants would retain the right to match any offers. If they didn’t, the Giants would receive two first-round draft picks in return for Jones.

The main advantage of the non-exclusive strategy is how it allows the Giants to see how the market values Jones. They can observe the offers he receives and adjust their ceilings in negotiations accordingly, especially if Jones needs to re-evaluate his own expectations and demands.

Another benefit of the non-exclusive plan is how it’s cheaper than the exclusive tag. The latter is based on the average annual salaries of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, so about $45 million per year.

Avoiding that fee is necessary if the Giants are going to keep Barkley in the fold. Barkley will “get tagged” if the Giants find a compromise with Jones’ reps about a long-term contract, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

Any intention to tag Barkley means the Giants need to keep $10.091 million in their back pocket. It’s one more reason the outcome of negotiations with Jones will have a domino effect on the rest of the team’s plans for this offseason.

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