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New York Giants had hopes that Daniel Jones’ price tag wouldn’t exceed $40 million per year

Once the new regime took over for the New York Giants, general manager Joe Schoen had a big decision to make. Should they pick up Daniel Jones’ fifth-year player option or decline it and allow the quarterback to enter free agency in 2023?

I think we can all safely agree that Schoen made a Giant mistake by declining the contract option. Of course, we didn’t know Danny Dimes was about to have the best season of his young career, helping the G-Men reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. No one knew that.

But there was at least hope that new head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka could work their magic on the former first-round pick, much like they did in Buffalo with Josh Allen.

It turns out that’s exactly what happened, as Jones established himself not only as a starting quarterback but as an emerging dual-threat who has the potential to be a true star, if not more.

Just for kicks, the Giants would have owed Jones $22.3 million in 2023 had they picked up the option. While it was easy to think that wasn’t a price worth paying for a QB who constantly battled turnover issues, we quickly saw those problems dissipate last year in the Big Apple.

While actually finding a gem of a quarterback shouldn’t be perceived as any kind of setback, the Giants now have a tough situation on their hands, with Saquon Barkley also entering free agency now that his rookie contract has expired too.

Related: New York Giants expected to let Saquon Barkley test NFL free agency: 4 logical destinations

New York Giants may have cost themselves nearly half their cap space

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

But how much do the Giants figure to cost themselves by gambling on Jones not developing the way he did this past season? Early reports suggest Jones could be looking at an annual salary of $45 million on his upcoming contract extension. If so, that would be double what they were originally set to pay. This isn’t exactly ideal for a team that will look to spend their $44 million in cap space wisely this offseason.

Especially considering the Giants had already projected Jones’ eventual worth and were hoping to keep his salary number ‘below $40 million‘, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Schwartz also adds that he hasn’t been able to confirm the reports that Jones is seeking $45 million annually from the Giants, but he also didn’t rule it out.

Ultimately, Schwartz expects Jones’ camp to ask for more than $40 million, but he anticipates the two sides being able to come to an agreement on a long-term extension this offseason, but he also cautioned getting the deal done won’t be easy.

For what it’s worth, the Giants could always place the franchise tag on Jones, which would pay him $32.4 million in 2023, a far cry from the reported figures of $40-45 million. Yet, as mentioned, that means a long-term extension would be more likely for Barkley. As you can see, it’s a complicated mess, but both players would like to remain in New York now that they’re building a winner.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023: From 1-400, Derek Carr first to hit open market

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