Daniel Jones 'thrilled to be back' after some anxious moments
For as long as Joe Schoen is the Giants' general manager and Brian Daboll is the coach, there is a possibility that their biggest decision will be the one that kept Daniel Jones as the team’s quarterback.
Jones, Dave Gettleman’s first-round draft pick in 2019, did not flourish consistently until Schoen and Daboll arrived in East Rutherford 14 months ago.
Jones played last season without a No. 1 receiver. He played his best in winning a playoff game in Minnesota. He is highly respected by teammates.
And he said this in reaction to “added pressure” related to the shiny new four-year, $160 million contract he signed Tuesday night at the Giants' facility: “I’ve always felt that responsibility and playing this position, especially for a team like the Giants and this city, you have that responsibility. I take that very seriously. It certainly doesn’t change. It’s my goal to earn that every day.”
Which begets a weighty question: Do the Giants believe they can win a Super Bowl with Jones at quarterback?
“Yeah, yeah, that’s everybody’s goal to win a Super Bowl,” Schoen said Wednesday when he, like Jones, held a Zoom call with reporters. “I think Daniel played well his rookie year, played well for us this past year. The coaching staff has confidence in him. As an organization we have confidence in him. And we’re going to continue to build the team around him. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Jones, generally stoic with the media, admitted there was “an emotional component” to the process leading up to signing the contract to remain a Giant. There were, he said, “some points in time where you had more confidence and some points in time where you had less confidence. I wanted to find a way to work it out. That was always the goal and my mindset. I’m glad we did. I’m thrilled to be back.”
The new deal ties Jones with the Cowboys' Dak Prescott and the Rams' Matthew Stafford as seventh-highest paid quarterbacks, according to Over the Cap.
Jones explained that he wanted to do what was best for his family while also balancing his role on the team. The Giants’ roster needs to be improved.
“I think we found a way to do both those things and do it the right way for both sides,” Jones said. “That was certainly important to me.”
Jones and Saquon Barkley are close friends and share mutual respect as teammates. Jones said that factored in, too.
“Saquon, I’ve said he means a ton to me as a teammate and as a friend and as a player,” Jones said. “I won’t talk about his business, but that was a piece of it, too.”
As Jones signed, Barkley was given the non-exclusive franchise tag, at $10.1 million. A team would have to offer two first-round picks to take Barkley from the Giants. That is unlikely. Far likelier: That the Giants and Barkley agree to an extension somewhere in the $13 million per year range.
Schoen said he talked to Barkley briefly Tuesday when he was tagged and would speak with him again Wednesday.
Interestingly, Jones said he talked to Eli Manning before the contract process started and a “little bit during” the process. Manning assured him that the process would work out as it should.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t anxious times. While Schoen hoped to have Jones’ contract wrapped up by noon Tuesday, it actually extended to the stressful final minutes.
The contract wasn’t finished until 3:54 p.m., six minutes before the deadline.
At that moment, Schoen finally exhaled.
“Being around Daniel for the last 13 months, and seeing him play, the fourth-quarter comebacks, winning a playoff game on the road, and there’s a lot of positives that a 25-year-old young man just displayed throughout the season,” Schoen said. “I’ve got a great belief in our staff and Daniel’s work ethic and their relationship. That will continue to grow and Daniel can get better. If he’s just at his floor right now, I’m real excited about what his ceiling’s going to be.”
Shortly after signing his new contract, Jones went out to dinner with his agent and some friends. It was a happy affair. There was joy and there was relief. And yes, Jones said, he picked up the tab.