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Daniel Jones’ $160 million contract hasn’t changed his work habits

Jones is still the same guy as the Giants get back to work

New York Giants Offseason Workout Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Giants made waves earlier in the offseason by signing quarterback Daniel Jones to a historic (for the franchise) contract this past March.

Negotiations went down to the franchise tag wire, but ultimately the Giants and Jones’ camp were able to come to an agreement on a four-year $160 million contract in the closing minutes before the deadline to apply the franchise tag.

But despite the sizable numbers thrown around, Jones — and those around him — say the money hasn’t changed him. And now in June with the Giants’ mandatory mini-camp, Jones is just worried about getting back to work and getting ready for the 2023 season.

"I never really felt like I needed to show other people or whoever it is,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m doing it because I want to do it, because I enjoy doing it and I’m trying to be as good as I can be. That doesn’t change regardless of what the contract situation is or whatever it may be. But I think we have a lot of guys with that kind of mindset who want to come in and work hard.

“I’m trying to be as good as I can be, and that requires showing up every day and putting in the work."

Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, who also had a big payday this offseason, agreed that nothing seems to have changed with Jones.

“[Jones is] Still coming in every morning and staying late at night,” Lawrence said. “Daniel is a grinder. Guy like that, he has good traits. I don’t even think he has swag to begin with (laughter). You all see him, you just talked to him, he’s just Daniel.”

“If you know anything about Daniel, that guy is the hardest worker no matter what the situation is,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard said, agreeing with Lawrence. “I expect him to have the mentality of, I’m going to show everybody why I deserve this money, and I mean, he’s always approached the game and practiced day-to-day work with the right mindset.

“He’s vocal. A little more vocal. He’s still a great leader. I just say he’s a little more vocal and demands things.”

"Doesn’t change my routine or how I’m going to go about my work or my business,” Jones said of the money. “That’s the same."

The Giants, of course, had a special guest for the first day of their mandatory mini-camp. Legendary coach Bill Parcells was on the premises to watch practice, and he also spoke to the team today.

“Just about accountability,” Jones said, of the talk. “You know, talking about what makes a team great and what tests a team in a season and staying close, staying together, taking accountability for your role on the team. I think it was a great message.”

Being accountable is all well and good — great, in fact. But “getting better” in the NFL and seeing tangible results on the field is a moving target and easier said than done. It demands the existing players upping their game, the coaches finding new ways to maximize the talent on the roster, as well as the front office adding talent.

The Giants have certainly added talent the offseason, trading for tight end Darren Waller, signing wide receiver Paris Campbell in free agency, and adding wide receiver Jalin Hyatt and running back Eric Gray in the 2023 NFL Draft.

"The guys who have been around, who’ve made a lot of plays in the past and the new guys we’ve brought in. I think we have a wide variety of skill sets and ability and guys who can do different things,” Jones said. “It’s been a lot of fun to work with. A lot of true pros in the room that come to work every day, and you know, ready to take care of business and do what we’ve got to do to win.”

It is, of course, still the offseason. The pads still haven’t gone on yet and won’t until after training camp has started in July. We won’t have a good idea of how the 2023 Giants are taking shape until the pads go on and practices start to really look like football. But this time of year is still worthwhile, both for players learning the system and the coaches fine-tuning the system before the full install in training camp.

"I think it’s valuable time to get on the same page with a lot of these guys and especially guys who haven’t been here and are learning the system, so I think all that stuff is important, building timing, building chemistry, building our communication, learning how we’re going to communicate with each other,” Jones said. “I think there’s a lot of things that you can get, and overall, I think we’ve had a pretty good spring.

"I think for one, a lot of guys have been around, know the system, know what we are doing, so that helps, and also helps the other guys who haven’t been here learn and pick it up a little bit quicker,” Jones added. “I think we are in a good spot, and it feels a lot different than last time for sure, but the guys have done a really good job."