Things are heating up in the NFL offseason as teams have until Tuesday, March 7th, 4 PM ET to designate the franchise tag or transition tag to players. No other team has been in the headlines more as it pertains to who they designate their franchise tag to than the New York Giants, as both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are free agents.
General manager Joe Schoen said ideally, it would be in the best interest of the team to work out a long-term deal with Jones and Barkley. But Schoen is running out of time, and if he can’t reach an agreement with one of his star players, then he’ll have no choice but to assign the franchise tag, and chances are, it will be Jones.
There’s a ton on the plate for the 43-year-old GM. For one, he’s scouting players at the NFL Combine this week. Not only does he need to try and re-sign his own free agents, but he also needs to acquire other teams’ free agents in order to upgrade the roster.
We’ll find out soon what Schoen’s plans are, but for right now, here are four predictions on the Giants willl do this offseason.
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Giants sign Daniel Jones to multi-year deal, paying average of $40 million
According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan’s tweet on March 3rd, there has been progress in the negotiations between Jones and the Giants. There seems to be optimism that a deal could get done by Tuesday’s deadline where the 25-year-old quarterback would get a multi-year deal that would pay him an average of $40 million a year.
There are those that feel he hasn’t done enough to warrant a contract of that size based on having just one good season since he came into the league. But the bottom line is, New York’s brass believes in Jones, and the market dictates that a quality free-agent quarterback would get in the neighborhood of $40 million a year.
A big positive in getting a long-term deal with Jones is that it will allow the team to spread out the money through the length of the deal, which will allow them more cap space to be aggressive in free agency this offseason.
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New York will give Saquon Barkley the franchise tag
No player wants to play on the franchise tag, especially when you’re the best player on a team. But that appears to be Barkley’s fate as it’s becoming apparent that there’s a price that Schoen is not willing to go for his star running back.
The tag would pay Barkley $10.09 million this season which is well below the reported $14 million that the running back was seeking when he and his agent met with Schoen during the bye week. Given Barkley’s injury history and how the running back position is being devalued, you can understand Schoen’s reasoning.
It’s apparent that the 26-year-old back will need another solid season and show that he can stay healthy in order to get a long-term deal down the road.
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Big Blue will have a reunion with Odell Beckham Jr.
As we mentioned, New York reaching a deal with Jones will help them acquire free agents this year. One of the players Big Blue could even acquire is their 2014 first-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr.
These two sides met in December but could come to terms on a deal. The speculation was that OBJ was not fully healed from his second ACL tear. But the 30-year-old receiver should be fully healthy by now, and with him and the Giants sharing mutual interest in a reunion, it seems inevitable it will happen.
He may not be the player he once was, but Beckham showed in 2021 when he helped the Los Angeles Rams win a Super Bowl that he can still play at a high level. In addition, he can be a mentor to some of the younger wide receivers, such as Wan’Dale Robinson, who is recovering from his own ACL tear, and be reunited with one of his best friends in Barkley.
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New York Giants will draft a wide receiver in the first round
Acquiring Beckham would be a good first step in upgrading the receiving corps, however, that won’t be enough. Schoen knows the team has to get a young, explosive receiver in order to maximize Jones’s potential, and that’s why he’ll grab a receiver in the first round of the draft.
Normally when you have the 25th pick in the draft, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get one of the top-receiving prospects. Fortunately for New York, this is a deep receiver class where a few of the nation’s best wideouts will likely still be on the board.
Some of the receivers on the Giants’ radar are Quentin Johnston from TCU, Jordan Addison from USC, Jalin Hyatt from Tennessee, Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Ohio State, and Zay Flowers from Boston College.
With one of these receivers, along with OBJ back on the team, Daniel Jones will have the necessary weapons to show why he deserved his lucrative contract.
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