The New York Giants have reached a long-term deal with quarterback Daniel Jones and will use the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley, NFL Network reports.
Per the report, Jones' deal is worth $160 million over four years with the potential of $35 million more in incentives. The contract reportedly includes $82 million guaranteed over two years. It freed up the Giants to use the franchise tag on Barkley, whose negotiations with the team have yet to produce a long-term deal.
Barkley would make $10.091 million next season if he plays on the franchise tag. He and the Giants are free to continue to negotiate a contract. He would have been eligible for free agency without the tag or a long-term deal. News of both transactions arrived at Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline for teams to apply franchise tags.
Is Jones worth his new contract?
Jones, 25, served the fourth and final year of his rookie contract last season. The Giants declined to pick up the fifth-year on his contract last offseason, leaving him eligible for free agency barring a new deal or the franchise tag.
Under a new coaching staff helmed by head coach Brian Daboll, Jones had the best season of his career in 2022, prompting the Giants to prioritize his return. He'd previously underperformed his No. 6 overall slot in the 2019 draft.
Jones totaled 22 interceptions and 29 fumbles over the course of his first two seasons, a tally that includes a league-worst 19 fumbles as a rookie. Jones improved his turnover rate in his third season with seven interceptions and seven fumbles. But he countered with just 10 touchdowns thrown in an offense that ranked 31st in the league in yards per game. The Giants went 12-25 in games that Jones started in his first three seasons.
Last season saw dramatic improvement from Jones on the turnover front. He completed a career high 67.2% of his passes for 3,205 yards while tallying 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. His interception percentage was the lowest in the NFL. He also fumbled a career-low six times while adding 708 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, both career highs.
Jones' improved ball security and emergence as a running threat helped the Giants offense improve from 31st in 2021 to 18th in 2022. New York went 9-7-1 and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season.
Giants get what they want
When healthy, Barkley remains one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in football. Sidelined and stunted by injuries the previous two seasons, Barkley had his healthiest season in 2022 since his 2018 Rookie of the Year campaign. He made the Pro Bowl after tallying 1,650 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns.
Tuesday's news adds up to an optimal scenario for the Giants, who sought this offseason to keep both Jones and Barkley in their offensive backfield. Barring a negotiating breakdown with Barkley that leads to a holdout or a trade, both will return as the Giants seek to build on their 2022 success.