EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Despite the apparent stalemate that came after seemingly endless daily meetings and dinners at the NFL scouting combine last week, Daniel Jones and the Giants reached an agreement on a megadeal that now keeps the quarterback in New York through 2027.
Sources told ESPN that Jones agreed to a four-year deal worth $160 million with $82 million guaranteed -- and another $35 million available in incentives -- minutes before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline to franchise-tag players. The Giants immediately placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley.
General manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll saw enough during their first season in New York -- where Jones played the best football of his career and the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 2016 -- that they made the decision to re-sign him. In addition to his 15 touchdown passes, Jones consistently made plays in the fourth quarter and performed best when they needed it most down the stretch and in the postseason.
There have been plenty of doubters since the Giants took Jones at No. 6 in the 2019 NFL draft out of Duke. But when the team owner declared that Jones was "coming into his own" after the Giants clinched a playoff berth in January, this moment seemed inevitable, despite the shocking sticker price.
Why did the Giants re-sign Daniel Jones?
This was always Schoen's preference. He made it clear at his end-of-season news conference that "Daniel's going to be here," even if it was on the franchise tag. But the tag would have been prohibitive and counted $32.4 million directly against the salary cap. That would have restricted the Giants' ability to put the necessary supporting cast around Jones. The tag was always their backup option.
The price point of this deal makes it clear Schoen and Daboll are of the belief that Jones can take his game to the next level with better weapons and more time in the same system. They view him as a perennial top-10 quarterback moving forward. Another year with Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (along with some new and improved receivers) and they think the Giants can really take off with Jones as their guy. Because, quite frankly, he's now officially their guy.
Why did Jones get so much money?
Jones is a young quarterback who has already proved to be a quality player in this league. There is room for him to take his game to the next level. With that comes the hefty price tag. The comp all along probably should have been the Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray, who signed a deal last year that paid him more than $46 million annually.
Murray has never thrown 30 touchdown passes. His high is 26; Jones' is 24. Murray also made the playoffs just once, a first-round loss to the Los Angeles Rams in which he threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. Murray, who does have two Pro Bowl selections to his name, was a young quarterback whose value was based primarily on the projection that he was only going to get better with age and experience.
Jones, 25, is in a similar spot, although he added a playoff win to his résumé with a wild-card win over the Minnesota Vikings. He threw for a career-best 3,205 yards this past season; Murray threw for just under 4,000 yards each of his first three years.
Bottom line: Quarterbacks get paid.
What does this mean for Jones and the Giants long term?
The team has its quarterback for at least the next three years. Jones is that guy. In the dollar range of 40-plus million per season, that puts him seventh among all quarterbacks. That is, until Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert blow past him in the next year or two.
The Giants are hoping Jones can develop into a consistent top-10 quarterback while paying him outside that range. In that case, it's a bargain! It's a bit of a gamble, but it's one worth taking, considering the information they already have on Jones and the other available options. The Giants love his work ethic, his skill set and how he handles the demands of being a franchise quarterback in New York.
Stephen A. Smith says Saquon Barkley deserves to get paid more after his offensive production for the Giants this season.
What does this mean for Saquon Barkley?
Barkley lost any leverage he potentially had. The $10.1 million franchise tag for a running back is less than what he was already offered and offers only one year of security. The deal that was sitting on the table before this was somewhere in the $13 million range, according to sources close to the negotiations, with the potential for it to be more with some easily attainable incentives.
Don't be surprised to see Barkley all of a sudden realize this deal looks awfully good compared with the franchise tag and reach an agreement with the Giants rather quickly.
How does it affect the Giants' ability to add much-needed depth?
Jones' long-team deal was imperative for Schoen and the Giants. They spent last offseason making moves to put them in position to have financial flexibility this year. Using the franchise tag on Jones would have spoiled that plan.
Now, the Giants can add a higher-end receiver in free agency and/or a trade. They can sign a receiving tight end and add offensive line depth, in addition to the moves they need to make (such as signing a proven middle linebacker) on the defensive side of the ball.
With the cap expected to jump significantly in the next two years, Jones' deal won't stop them from being able to spend. It's good for Jones and good for his supporting cast.