Joe Schoen gives latest on re-signing Daniel Jones & Saquon Barkley

Putting the tag on either player would not prevent the Giants from continuing negotiations for a multi-year deal. Jones’ salary under the label would be $32.4 million, which Schoen admits would limit his opportunities to advance other positions.

“It does,” he said. “It’s something everyone recognizes. If you have to franchise Daniel, I don’t think that’s the best thing for the organization. I don’t think it’s for Daniel’s best, especially when we’re trying to build a team around him and asking questions about receivers and other positions on the other side of the ball where we might need depth. So it hurts a bit when it comes to the team building process. But we’re prepared if that’s a scenario we face and we have a plan B. And we’ll try to execute it as best we can.

Despite the contractual uncertainty, Schoen said a resounding “no” when asked if he had any doubts about Jones being the Giants’ quarterback in 2023. “We’ll try to finish Daniel off,” he said. “We wouldn’t be in this situation and would negotiate with Daniel if we didn’t want him to be our quarterback.”

Schoen added if Jones is not signed by the deadline, he will be flagged. That wouldn’t stop the two sides from continuing to negotiate a multi-year deal that would greatly reduce the cap space Jones would absorb if he played below the $32.4 million tag salary.

Schoen said Jones’ recent agent move from CAA to Athletes First did not affect the negotiations.

“It was something personal that Daniel wanted to do,” Schoen said. “I haven’t really looked into it. We never had discussions with CAA. They had no idea what value we were thinking. We had no idea what value they would have asked. That was completely independent. We have a great relationship with CAA, a great relationship with Athletes First. We just had never started any negotiations, numbers or anything. That was just something Daniel decided himself and when there was a breakup we started talking to Athletes First as soon as that was settled.”

Jones enjoyed the best of his four NFL seasons in 2022 as he led the Giants to a 9-6-1 record (he didn’t play in the season finale) and a wildcard win in Minnesota. Jones set a Giants single-season record for qualifying quarterbacks by completing 67.2% of his passes, and his 92.5 passer rating was also a career high. He threw just five interceptions in 472 attempts, an NFL-best 1.1 percent. Jones not only threw for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns, but also finished second on the team with 708 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, records in a season for a Giants quarterback record.

“Daniel had a great year,” said Schoen. “And he’ll be the first to tell you: There’s still a lot of meat on the bone and a lot of room for improvement. And Dabs (coach Brian Daboll) will tell you that. That’s what the coaching staff will tell you “He’s come a long way. He’s still 25. I think there’s still room for improvement as he continues to mature and be in the staff. I think the continuity with the staff, by getting (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka back. (Quarterbacks coach) Shea (Tierney) applied for a coordinator job (in Tampa Bay.) But if we bring these guys back, our entire offensive staff will be back, except for Tony Sparano Jr., the assistant O-line coach. But the same goes for defense. Our defensive staff is coming back. I think continuity, year two, familiarity with the system, we’re going to be so much further as we get into the offseason program go. And I think everyone will benefit, especially Daniel.”

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When asked when he knew Jones would be the team’s quarterback this year, Schoen said, “It’s been an ongoing process. We rated every game he played leading up to the playoffs. I think we felt good at the end of the season that he’s the guy we want to bring back to move forward and be our guy.”

Schoen would have liked to have Barkley next to Jones in the backfield. The two sides held initial contract talks during Giants bye week. Post-season, Schoen said of those talks, “We had gone off value.” Regarding this gap, Schoen said today: “We have not yet completely bridged it. We’re a little closer. There is still a gap, otherwise we would finish him. We’re working with Roc Nation and Kim Miale, his agent. We have a great relationship with her and I’ve had it for a long time. We had really good communication. She is doing great work. We’ll see if we can close the gap here at some point.”

Last season, Barkley was selected to his second Pro Bowl and missed a game through injury for the first time since his 2018 Rookie of the Year season. He was fourth in the NFL with 1,312 rushing yards and tied with Richie James for the team lead with 57 receptions. Barkley’s 1,650 yards from scrimmage was the seventh-highest tally in the league. In addition to his production, Barkley is team captain, the Giants’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and one of their most popular players.

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“You take all of that into account, otherwise you wouldn’t approach the player about extending his contract,” said Schön. “So, Walter Payton Man of the Year, I love that about him. But you also have to look at the production, the durability, the games played, the production compared to other comps in the league. And that’s where they usually end up from a financial standpoint. Again, we have to draw a line in the sand like, “We’re not going any further. And if it’s going beyond that, let’s move on to Plan B.” And hopefully we don’t get to that. But we went through all these plans.

How close are the Giants to that line?

“I can’t tell you – then they would know,” Schoen said with a chuckle. “We will try to close the gap.”

Both with Barkley and Jones.


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