Giants GM: Plan to transport ahead with QB Jones

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants plan on moving forward with Daniel Jones as their starting quarterback, general manager Joe Schoen said at his end-of-season news conference. It will simply be a matter of how they get there.

Jones, 25, is a free agent at the end of the season. The Giants plan to negotiate a long-term deal with him, or they have the franchise tag at their disposal.

“We’d like Daniel to be here. He said it [Sunday], there is a business side to it. But we feel like Daniel played well this season. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to. … We would like to have Daniel Jones back.”

There was no reason to hold back on their plan at quarterback this offseason. This less than a year after the Giants declined to exercise the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

It put Jones in a prove-it year under the new regime of Schoen and coach Brian Daboll. All he did was them over by putting together the best season of his career, reaching the playoffs and winning a postseason game in his first try.

It won over his bosses, who will now build a team around the quarterback who was drafted sixth overall in 2019.

“We’re happy Daniel is going to be here. We’re happy he’s going to be here,” Schoen said. “Hopefully we can get something done with his representatives. That would be the goal, to build a team around him where he could lead us to a Super Bowl.”

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The franchise tag for a quarterback based off a projected salary cap of $220 million is $31.7 million.

Talks are expected to occur over the next month; the franchise tag deadline is March 7.

“It takes two. Both sides are going to have that conversation,” Schoen said. “We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. There are tools at our disposal.”

Jones said the day after a 38-7 playoff loss to the Eagles that he wanted to return. With both parties having similar goals, it seems a pretty sure bet it will eventually happen.

“I really enjoyed my time here, and I want to be here,” Jones said. “I think there’s a business side of it all, and a lot of that I can’t control. I have love and respect for this organization and ownership and the guys in this locker room. “So I’d love to be here. I really enjoyed being here, and we’ll see how it all works out.”

Jones threw for 3,205 yards and completed 67.2% of his passes this season. He had 15 touchdown passes and five interceptions, but also ran for another 708 yards and seven touchdowns.

One by one he checked off all the boxes. The turnovers, which were once his biggest problem, became a strength. Jones had just nine turnovers in 18 starts this season, including the playoffs.

He also remained healthy for the duration of the season. It was the first time in Jones’ four-year career that he didn’t miss games because of injury. He also consistently made clutch plays in big spots throughout a season where the Giants won 10 games by one score or less.

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“I don’t know if there was necessarily an aha moment or anything like that,” Schoen said. “We’ve just been continually evaluating throughout the season and what the coaches asked him to do. He’s executing the game plans. … I don’t know the exact date or time where we’re like Daniel’s our guy, but we’re pleased with how he’s played this season.”

The Giants seemed less optimistic about running back Saquon Barkley. While Schoen expressed a desire for him to return, it did not seem nearly as big a priority.

Barkley had said the previous day he was not insistent on resetting the running back market, where San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey averages $16 million per season.

The franchise tag for a running back is likely to come in at $9.9 million.

“Listen, Saquon’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s a good football player,” Schoen said. “Again, the positional value, we’ll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources. That is what it comes down to.

“Again, he’s a good football player. He was durable for this year. He played well and, again, he’s a guy we would like to have back.”

But Jones appears at the top of that list.