INDIANAPOLIS, Ind — New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen reiterated on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that Daniel Jones would be the team’s quarterback in 2023.
He said “no” when asked if he had any doubt about that. If a long-term deal isn’t reached by Tuesday, Schoen said he would use the franchise tag to keep the quarterback off the free agent market.
Schoen said he is “cautiously optimistic” about getting deals done with both Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
“We’re trying to work through it,” Schoen said. “Obviously we’d like to have them both back. They know how we feel about both of them.”
Schoen admitted “there is” urgency to get a deal done with at least one of the two before the March 7 deadline to use the franchise tag.
“It’s got to be right for both parties,” the GM said. “If it gets out of hand and it’s out of our comfort zone we have the tag. We can only tag one player. We’ll use that, if someone’s got to walk that’s unfortunate, but that’s part of the business.
“We’re still building a team.”
Giants GM Joe Schoen on whether or not there is pressure to get deals done with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. pic.twitter.com/Qtc9Kb6MX6— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) February 28, 2023
Schoen said he had been in “constant contact” with Jones’ reps from Athletes First. He said there were “productive conversations” Monday with more scheduled later on Tuesday.
While Schoen has been clear that he will use the tag on Jones if he has to he is hopeful of not having to use the tag at all.
“We’re hoping we don’t get to where it’s one or the other,” Schoen said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. If it did we wouldn’t have contract offers out to both of them.
“That’s going to be better for the organization and I think it would be better for Daniel and I think it would be better for Saquon if we can get deals done without having to use the franchise tag,” Schoen said.
The GM said using the $32.4 million franchise tag on Jones would hamstring the organization when it comes to signing other players.
“That’s something everybody realizes,” Schoen said. “To franchise Danny I don’t think that’s best for the organization and I don’t believe it’s best for Daniel, especially as we try to build the team around him. [There are] questions about receiver and other positions on the other side of the ball where we may need depth, so it does hurt you a little bit in terms of the team-building process. We’re prepared if that’s the scenario that we’re faced with. We have a Plan B and we’ll try to execute that the best we can.”
Schoen does not believe we have seen the best of Jones, who will be 26 next season.
“Daniel did have a good year but he’ll be the first to tell you there’s still a lot of meat left on the bone and room for improvement,” Schoen said. “Dabs will tell you that. The coaching staff will tell you that. He came a long way. He’s still 25. I still think there’s room for improvement as he continues to mature and be around the staff. I think the continuity of the staff, getting Kafka back, Shea (Tierney) interviewed for a coordinator job. Getting those guys back — our entire offensive staff will be back outside of Tony Sparano Jr., the assistant O-Line coach — and same for the defense. The entire defensive staff’s coming back. Continuity, Year 2, familiarity with the system, we’ll be that much further ahead as we go into the offseason program.
“I think everybody will benefit from that, especially Daniel.”
Schoen revealed said Jones’ decision to switch from CAA to Athletes First had no impact on the negotiations.
“We had never had any conversations with CAA,” he said. “We had never embarked on any type of negotiations.”
What about Barkley?
Schoen said the Giants and Barkley are “a little bit closer” to a deal than they were at midseason when Barkley reported turned down a deal that was said to be roughly around $12.5 million in average annual value, but that “there’s still a gap.”
“The goal is to get both of them [Jones and Barkley] done and have them be New York Giants,” Schoen said. “They’re a big part of why we had success last year. Like to have them both back.”
The GM admitted that there are factors beyond his play on the field that may have to be considered with Barkley, but that there still has to be a “walk-away number.”
“You’ve got to draw a line in sand like we’re not going any further and if it goes past this let’s shift to Plan B,” Schoen said. “Hopefully we don’t get to that.”
[NOTE: I will have more takeaways from Schoen’s remarks on a variety of other topics coming up later].