Daniel Jones was in the Giants facility on Tuesday and could have been in the gym as the two sides hammered out their 11th-hour contract extension.
GM Joe Schoen and Jones said this Wednesday on Zoom they made a deal either at 3:53 PM or 3:54 PM, just minutes before the 4:00 PM deadline for the franchise tag. Both described a tense final hour in which neither side was sure they would find a compromise.
“It got a little dangerous yesterday,” Schoen said. “As it got closer to 3:30, 3:40, it was a part of me [that felt], like, we might not make it to the finish line. And in the last four or five minutes I tied a bow on it, luckily.”
Jones admitted that he, too, had some doubts at times, including a Monday night session that became difficult.
“I think there were probably some moments where you were more confident and some moments in time where you were less confident,” the quarterback said, wearing a sweatshirt at the team’s facility a day after securing the bag. “But I wanted to find a way to solve it, and that was the goal. It was very much my way of thinking and I’m glad I did. I’m excited to be back.”
Jones said “I was in the building” in that last hour. He said his The first sports agents told him in person “where he was” less than 10 minutes away and “I agreed”.
Afterwards, the defender had dinner with some friends and his agents to celebrate.
“Yeah, I picked up the tab,” the quarterback kept saying.
Schoen said negotiations with Jones’ agents lasted exactly three weeks and ended with “nine consecutive days” of in-person meetings, moving from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Sunday to Giants headquarters in East Rutherford on Monday.
Then Monday night was “late” and they came back “early Tuesday morning” to grind it out.
Schoen did not disclose how involved co-owner John Mara is completion of the contract. He simply pointed out that he had kept the information on the property all along.
“John Mara, Chris Mara, Steve Tisch, I have a chain of messages with them, I’ve called them, I’ve talked to them,” Schoen said. “I have kept them informed since the beginning of the process which we started three weeks ago. So phone calls or chain messages, keeping them up to date with what’s going on.”
Interestingly, while teams normally use franchise tag leverage against players in negotiations, it appears that in this case Jones’ agents used that deadline and the accompanying Saquon Barkley dilemma to force the Giants’ hands to reach 40 million dollars a year until Tuesday.
“I wanted to know we had our quarterback here and it wasn’t a franchise deal,” Schoen said. “So for me, that was the worst case scenario, to put that franchise tag on him. But I also knew I had this as a tool. So the deal had to make sense for the franchise in both the short and long term. And that was important to me.”
Schoen added that “the fact that we didn’t have to put the franchise tag on it and the way the deal was structured and the years, I think both sides were happy at the end.”
On the other hand, Jones’ agents didn’t have to use Tuesday’s deadline as a deadline to make their own deal. It might, in fact, have benefited from pushing the negotiations beyond that point.
That would have forced the Giants to use the tag on Jones, removing one of the franchise tags that teams are allowed to use on the player in his career, even if he were to agree to a long-term contract one day later.
For the Giants’ side, Schoen admitted he obviously didn’t think he’d be paying Jones a year ago. when he declined a fifth-year option which would have locked Jones up for $22.384 million in 2023.
“If I thought I’d be here a year ago, I would have taken the fifth-year option,” the GM said with a smile. But I’ve been around Daniel for the last 13 months and I’ve seen him play fourth-quarter comebacks and winning a playoff game on the roadthere are a lot of positives that a 25-year-old has just shown throughout the season.”
Interestingly, Schoen also suggested that the Giants were paying Jones for the even better player they believe he will become.
“On the positive side, I have a lot of confidence in our staff and Daniel’s work ethic and their relationship will continue to grow and Daniel will continue to get better,” Schoen said. “If he’s upstairs now, I’m really excited about what his ceiling is going to be.”
Jones also showed the same humility that helped him deliver his best season in 2022 against the odds to win this deal. He described the thrill of signing this contract as “like being drafted.”
“It’s an opportunity to play, but also an opportunity to win it and prove it and continue to improve as a player and win a lot of football games,” Jones said. “This is my goal and I am extremely excited about this opportunity. But there’s definitely a lot of work to be done in the future and I’m excited for that part of it as well.”
Both sides got something they wanted: Jones got money, the Giants avoided a long-term commitment with a favorable structure, and both ended up putting a contentious situation behind them.