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Giants, Daniel Jones reaching crunch time in contract talks

Clock continues to tick closer to franchise tag deadline

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL franchise tag deadline is March 7, juts five days away. That means time is beginning to run short for the New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones to reach a long-term deal that would prevent the Giants from tagging the quarterback to keep him off the free agent market.

“You’re starting to feel the time crunch a little bit,” Giants general manager Joe Schoen said Thursday morning on NFL Network. “I wish we were a little bit closer on a deal than what we are right now. But again, there’s still time.”

GM Joe Schoen has been clear that Jones will be the starting quarterback for the Giants in 2023. That means he will use the $32.4 million quarterback franchise tag if he has to.

Schoen told Peter Schrager of NFL Network that he has had “productive talks throughout this week” with Jones’ new representatives at Athletes First. He said the two sides have met each day since Monday.

“We’ll continue to talk and see if we can get something done before Tuesday,” Schoen said. “We’re going to circle back up today at some point and meet with his representatives ... in an ideal world we’d get something done with him, and we’re going to continue to work towards that.”

Schoen added that they will “hopefully find a comfortable landing spot for both parties.”

Dianna Russini of ESPN reported earlier in the week that the maximum dollar amount, or “walk-away number”, the Giants are believed have set is below the value Jones’ reps are willing to accept.

If the Giants and Athletes First cannot bridge that gap, Schoen will reluctantly use the franchise tag.

Schoen admitted earlier in the week that being forced to use the tag would hamper the Giants’ ability to upgrade the rest of the roster.

“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.”

The Jones’ situation obviously also impacts running back Saquon Barkley, who can also be a free agent. Barkley reportedly turned down a contract offer of more than $12 million in average annual value during the season, and the Giants are widely believed to be uncomfortable going much, if it all, beyond that number.

Getting Jones signed means the Giants could use their franchise tag, which carries a $10.1 million price tag for running backs, on Barkley. Otherwise, they run the risk of Barkley entering the free agent market on March 15.

“It’s got to be right for both parties,” the GM said on Tuesday. “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.”