Inside The Negotiations That Kept Daniel Jones, New York Giants Together

As the minutes ticked down to the 4 p.m. deadline. ET on Tuesday to either sign Daniel Jones to a long-term contract or apply a franchise tag to him, the New York Giants faced some related uncertainty: Would WiFi allow them to sign an agreement with the league office in time?

“That came up,” Giants general manager Joe Schoen told the assembled media Wednesday. “One of our guys was saying, ‘I don’t trust Wi-Fi. We have to put it in.” Well, that was real. We tried to suggest like, “Hey, lunch deadline. Let’s agree on something by noon and then we don’t have to fight at the end.’ And that didn’t happen. We went to the deadline. We were mixing. We were prepared. We had several emails prepared depending on how everything went. Fortunately, I think the best-case scenario has come to pass.”

The scenario — signing Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract that could be worth as much as $195 million with incentives — was never in doubt for either Schoen or Jones.

For the franchise quarterback, those final moments took place in the Giants’ own facility — a key indication for both the team and the player that there was enough goodwill and optimism that the deal would go through.

“Well, I think it’s better for the team,” Jones said of the new contract, which reduces New York’s cap number over the course of the contract. “It gives us a little bit more flexibility and that’s a big part of it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to find a way to work it out that was good for both sides, and it worked. And it allowed us to have the opportunity to do what is best for us in the future. So I think that was a key ingredient in it. I think we did.”

Part of what helped speed up the process, beyond the question of incentives on both sides, was the ability to tune out outside noise. For Jones, this came with a change in agencies, although he continued to respect his former representatives. Unsaid, but obvious, is that if Jones thought this would be the bottom line — a deal at the number he wanted — he wouldn’t have switched agencies just weeks before the contract was signed.

“I’m certainly very grateful and appreciative of CAA and I have some very strong relationships with those guys,” Jones said. “I just thought this was the best thing for me to work with Athletes First. And it was great working with them. I think we’ve worked hard these last few weeks to make it happen. And I don’t want to speculate about how it would have gone if it had been different. You never really know. But we made it and here we are. We are excited about it. I’m excited to be back.”

As for New York, talk of Jones’ value didn’t hold much sway for Schoen and his team, as previous management ignored Jones naysayers, including other quarterbacks in the same draft, when New York selected him sixth overall. 2019. (That quarterback, Baker Mayfield, won’t be getting a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason.)

“We can’t worry about what people outside the building are saying,” Schoen said. “All we care about is inside these walls. And we have a very talented, experienced coaching staff and a very talented staff, I believe. And what matters is what we think inside that building. This is how we will always make decisions. We are not going to worry about outside noise. And we will be condemned for what we do. It is a well thought out process and we are happy with the decision we made. And we are delighted to be moving forward with Daniel.”

What Schoen did, which separates him from his predecessor, Dave Gettleman, was craft the deal with salary cap flexibility in mind. He even gave fans a road map for why the new contract, along with Saquon Barkley’s franchise tag, leaves New York in a better financial position than before.

“Yeah, with the salary cap and the signing bonus, again, where we were, like we did Daniel’s deal with the signing bonus, which is spread out over four years,” Schoen said. “And then his P5 is $9.5 (million) this year. And then the signing bonus ratio, which I think was $36 (million), so there we have money there. Everyone is looking at the $40 (million) number, but that frees up some money. We’ll see what happens with Saquon. The franchise figure is just over $10 (million). If you expand it and there is a signing bonus, you can free up more space. There are more people. (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence is a guy we’ve started talking to his representatives. He is in his fifth year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the life of the contract up to five years, so you can reduce the annual amount that counts towards the cap.”

But in case you want it boiled down, the next question was simple: Does it leave New York money for everyone else?

Schoen’s answer was even simpler.


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