With the dust settled on the Giants’ season, here’s one thought on every offensive player on the roster:
• Daniel Jones: There was a notion early in the season the Giants could re-sign Jones to a two-year “bridge” deal (say, two years, $40 million) that would allow them to move on after one year if his 2022 improvement proved to be fool’s gold. Fans need to brace for the reality that the extension Jones will eventually sign — barring the use of the franchise tag — will be in a different stratosphere.
With the $32.4 million franchise tag likely serving as the floor for the annual average salary in a long-term contract, the Giants will probably aim for a longer deal so they can spread out the cap charges to allow for more flexibility to build the roster. Based on similar recent quarterback contracts, the Giants likely will need to guarantee money into the third year of a Jones extension. Teams have shown an increasing willingness to eat significant dead money to unload quarterbacks recently, but be prepared for a strong long-term commitment to Jones, assuming the sides work out an agreement.
• Tyrod Taylor: Taylor’s cameos didn’t inspire confidence that he would have been a viable bridge option in 2023 if the Giants had moved on from Jones. When Taylor replaced an injured Jones against the Bears in Week 4, he threw an interception on his first attempt, then was knocked out of the game on the next series when he suffered a concussion while scrambling. Taylor also left the preseason finale with a back injury after taking a big hit. He offers competency as a backup, but there would be major durability concerns if Taylor became the full-time starter.
• Saquon Barkley: The Giants’ midseason extension offer to Barkley was believed to be similar to the three-year, $36.6 million deal Nick Chubb signed with Cleveland in 2021. There are five running backs making between $12-$12.6 million per year — Chubb, Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon and Green Bay’s Aaron Jones.
It’s debatable if Barkley is worth more than that group. But one argument he can make is he should earn more due to inflation. Cook, Henry and Mixon signed their extensions in 2020 when the salary cap was $198.2 million. Chubb and Jones signed their extensions in 2021 when the cap had plummeted to $182.5 million. This year’s cap is set for $224.8 million, and it is projected to skyrocket in the future.
Cook, Chubb and Mixon also signed their contracts before the final year of modest rookie deals, which could have yielded savings for their teams by offering early extensions. Barkley had to play out all five years of his rookie deal and is set to become an unrestricted free agent, so there’s no reason for a discount unless he’s that intent on remaining in New York.
• Matt Breida: Breida was exactly what the Giants expected, serving as a speedy complement to Barkley. It makes sense to bring back Breida on another veteran salary benefit (VSB) contract.
• Gary Brightwell: Brightwell made the most of limited opportunities in his second season, leading the running backs with a 4.5 yards per carry average. Brightwell runs hard and is a core special teamer (although the Giants should seek an upgrade at kick returner). He’s perfect as cheap backfield depth.