Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hands off the ball to Saquon Barkley...

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hands off the ball to Saquon Barkley last November. Credit: AP/John Minchillo

Congratulations, Giants! You put all of that effort and spent all of that money on a quarterback who has never won a road game in Philadelphia, a running back who has never won a game against the Cowboys anywhere, and a duo who, in their finest season together last year, led the team to . . .  a third-place finish in the NFC East.

Yes, the status quo, that ever elusive illusion of consistency, has been maintained thanks to the long-term deal hammered out with Daniel Jones on Tuesday, just in time for the team to slap the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley.

The only true winners so far — besides Jones’ bank account — are the folks who invested in No. 8 or 26 jerseys over the last few years. They won’t have to go shopping and fork over another 200 or so bucks to rep the replacements of their favorite players. At least not for a while.

So while Tuesday felt like a win, it was not.

It was a reason to celebrate a sense of stability that has almost comically eluded the organization in recent years. Jones joins Odell Beckham Jr. as the Giants’ only first-round picks to sign a long-term second contract with the team since Mathias Kiwanuka, who was selected in 2005. And following Beckham’s flameout in New York, he could become the only one to actually stick around and play through a substantial part of that second deal. Perhaps soon, if the sides continue to negotiate, Barkley will join that exclusive list as well.

But a victory? No.

Not yet.

For Tuesday’s “Flurry at Four” to really matter, the Giants have to do something with the gifts the two headliner moves have afforded them. Their two most important offensive players will now count for about $30 million against the salary cap in 2023 (perhaps less if, again, Barkley and the Giants find a path to a longer contract), giving the front office the space it needs to help those cornerstones continue to develop and improve.

The Giants made Jones and Barkley wealthier. Now they have to try to make them winners.

General manager Joe Schoen knows as much. He wasn’t taking any bows on Tuesday. Instead he was already gearing up for the coming weeks in which the Giants will have the cap space and the draft capital for him to truly put his mark on the team he inherited last offseason.

“We are all pleased that we were able to come to an agreement prior to [Tuesday’s] deadline,” Schoen told the team's website. “This gives us a greater ability to continue to build our roster.”

That is the important part.

“It’s nice, again, to have the draft capital that we have, the financial flexibility we have, to really start building this thing,” Schoen added on Wednesday. “I don’t want to say this starts the build, because we made some moves last year and through the draft and some waiver-wire claims that are still going to be here. But this is finally where we have flexibility and draft capital, a second draft class, and we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.”

We already know what Jones and Barkley can do against the rest of the division. Hint: It ain't pretty. Before the Giants can start to truly think of themselves as title contenders, they have to figure out a way to vie with the Eagles and Cowboys and, yes, the Commanders. The Giants made it to the playoffs in 2022 and even won a playoff game, but they did it while winning one of their six regular-season matchups in the NFC East, one of seven if we count the postseason. Their success was an aberration in that regard, certainly not a path to future glory. They need to improve in a number of areas to reach the level of competition that surrounds them, to help Jones and Barkley reach that level.

The Giants' front office gets a few hours to regroup from the contractual calisthenics it just endured to keep Jones and Barkley around, a set of maneuvers that were fiscally challenging and, by many accounts, mentally draining. There could be a few other re-signings to come in the next few days as the Giants begin to lock up the second tier of their free agents-to-be.

Then it’s on to the open market with the window to negotiate with other players opening at noon on Monday. By then, Schoen and company should be well-rested and prepared, ready to put into action the script they have been crafting for the past two months.

Schoen, at the Combine last week, spoke about all of the “if/then” contingencies the Giants had regarding their budgets and plans, all depending on how things worked out with Jones and Barkley.

The ifs are settled.

How we judge their wisdom will depend more on what the Giants do next than on what they just did.

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