The New York Giants signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract earlier this offseason. It’s a deal that could be worth as much as $190 million in total.
For many, that was a surprising number. Jones had largely been inconsistent over his first four years with many refusing to acknowledge the bad hand he had been dealt (and then dealt again and again).
But the Giants never wavered. General manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll were both public and transparent with their support of Jones. And that was the same support expressed by various previous regimes.
It was obvious that, at least inside the building in East Rutherford, Jones had made believes out of anyone who crossed his path. But the outside perception never matched that and the disconnect continues to this day.
An anonymous NFL executive recently ripped the Giants’ decision to sign Jones to a long-term deal, telling Mike Sando of The Athletic they should have invested that money into Saquon Barkley instead.
“They would have been better off doing a bad deal with Saquon Barkley and (franchise) tagging Jones rather than the other way around,” an exec said. “Who was going to step out and pay Daniel Jones? That one was wild.”
Of course, there’s no way to know what Jones would have earned on the open market because the Giants refused to let him test it. What is certain is that had the Giants tagged Jones instead of Barkley, their cap situation would have been in more dire shape than it currently is and that’s without accounting for the $16 million per season Barkley has been demanding.
The irony of the criticism is that the Giants would have been forced to pay a running back well above market value or risk losing him altogether, essentially costing Jones his best offensive asset.
“That is surprising that they didn’t try to squeeze (Jones) a little bit, but the new regime just got there and won with him,” another exec said. “They probably want to continue to instill confidence in him. They overpaid Eli (Manning) in the past. That could just be a position they don’t want to mess around with and get too cute with.”
Eli Manning, of course, won two Super Bowls. If the Giants overpaid for him and netted that result, would anyone within the organization or their fanbase really complain about “overpaying” Jones if they were to win two more Super Bowls with him?
Ideally, the Giants will win a couple of Super Bowls (or more) with Jones and look back on these criticisms and laugh.