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

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

Jones #8 of the New York Giants warms up before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the minutes ticked down to Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline to sign Daniel Jones to a long-term contract or apply the franchise tag to him, the New York Giants faced several related uncertainties: Will they did their wifi allow them to sign an agreement with the league office in time?

“It worked out,” 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 get this.’ So it was true. We tried to pitch like, ‘Hey, the noon deadline. Let’s agree on something by noon and then that way we don’t have to fight at the end.’ And that didn’t happen. We went to the deadline. We were fighting. We were prepared. We had a few emails lined up, depending on how everything went. Fortunately, I think the best-case scenario played out.”

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

For the franchise quarterback, those final moments took place at the Giants’ own facility — a key indicator for the team and the player that there was plenty of 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 count over the life of the contract. “It gives us a bit more flexibility and that’s an important component to it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to find a way to work it out that was good for both parties and it worked. And that allowed us to have an opportunity to do what’s best for us going forward. So I think that was a key component to it. I think we did that.”

Part of what helped speed up the process, beyond the question of motivation on both sides, was the ability to tune out the outside noise. For Jones, that came with a change in agency, though he remained respectful of his former reps. Left unsaid, but clear, is that if Jones thought this would be the end — a deal at a number he wanted — he wouldn’t have switched agencies just weeks before signing the contract.

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

As for New York, chatter about Jones’ value didn’t do much for Schoen and his team, just as the previous administration ignored naysayers about Jones, including other quarterbacks in the same draft when New York selected him sixth in the generally. 2019. (That quarterback, Baker Mayfield, will not receive a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason.)

“We can’t worry about what people say outside the building,” Schoen said. “Everything we care about is within 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 this building. This is how we will always make decisions. We won’t worry about outside noise. And we will be punished for what we are doing. It is a well thought out process and we are happy with the decision we made. And we are happy to move forward with Daniel.”

What Schoen did, something that separates him from his predecessor, Dave Gettleman, was to craft the deal with salary cap flexibility in mind. He even gave fans a rundown on 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, the way we did Daniel’s deal with the signing bonus, which stretches to four years,” Schoen said. “And then his P5 is $9.5 million this year. And then the signing bonus proportion, which I think was $36 (million), so there’s money there. Everyone looks 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 extend it and there’s a signing bonus involved, you can free up more cap space. There are more people. (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence is a guy that we’ve started talking to his representatives. He is on a fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the duration of the contract up to five years, and so you can reduce the annual amount that counts against the cap.”

But in case you want to break it down, the follow-up question was simple: Does it leave New York money for everyone else?

Schoen’s answer was even simpler.


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Founder/Editor, The IX Newsletter. Founder/Editor, The Next Basketball Newsroom. WNBA/NBA/NWSL/MLB/NCAA women’s, men’s basketball and more writer/editor. I have written for many media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many others.

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