For the Giants and Daniel Jones, clarity has arrived.
The deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise tag is 4 p.m. Tuesday. Players who are tagged then have until mid-July to strike a long-term deal.
The preference for the Giants all along has been to come to a contract agreement with their quarterback. Then the franchise tag would be available for running back Saquon Barkley.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen has been clear that he wants to retain both players. He was particularly certain about Jones.
Asked at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week if there is any chance Jones will not be a Giant in the 2023 season, Schoen answered with one word: “No.”
If Jones were unable to come to terms with the Giants by Tuesday’s deadline, he would be franchised, which would make it more difficult for the team to also afford Barkley.
The franchise tag for a quarterback is a prohibitive $32.4 million.
That would make for an interesting dynamic. Barkley has made it clear that he sees himself and Jones as a package deal. The two are close friends and have the highest regard for each other.
As Newsday has reported, at the highest level of the Giants’ organization, the expectation has been that both Jones and Barkley will be Giants in 2023.
Schoen said at the Combine that he had been in “constant contact” with Jones’ agent and also had spoken with Barkley’s.
Jones is believed to have asked for a contract in the neighborhood of $45 million per year.
Jones, who will turn 26 in May, is coming off by far his best season.
He has cleaned up the turnover issues that plagued him earlier in his career — losing only three fumbles and throwing only five interceptions in 2022 — and completed 67.2% of his passes.
That represents Jones’ highest completion percentage in his four years in the NFL even though he worked without a true No. 1 receiver during the 2022 season.