Giants, Daniel Jones contract talks continue; Eagles’ ‘push play’ a hot topic


INDIANAPOLIS — The New York Giants dared Daniel Jones to prove his worth last season. They made him show he could be a franchise quarterback before they paid him like one.

So he did. Now he wants his money.

Why do so many people think that’s so wrong?

Jones is not the reason the Giants are on the verge of being in a salary cap bind after a week of in-person talks between Giants general manager Joe Schoen and Jones’ agents at the NFL Scouting Combine didn’t result in a new long-term contract. Their plan is to use the $32.4 million franchise tag on him if they can’t reach a deal before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. And that will use up about 70 percent of the $46.8 million in salary cap space they’re projected to have.

[Giants’ commitment to Daniel Jones could cost them Saquon Barkley

As Schoen noted last week, that will “limit” what they can do in free agency. It would almost certainly mean the loss of running back Saquon Barkley.

And none of that would be Jones’ fault.

Yes, he shot for the moon when talks opened, asking for more than $45 million per year, according to a source — a number that would’ve made him something like the third highest-paid player in the game. Was it more than he’s worth? Sure. But the way quarterback prices spiral, he figured that might look like a bargain in a few years. As one agent told FOX Sports: “Franchise quarterback prices always go up, not down.”

Of course he knew the Giants wouldn’t pay that much. They preferred a deal closer to $35 million per year, according to a source. But Jones also knew they didn’t want to use the franchise tag and kill the cap space Schoen worked so hard to clear. That was his leverage, and he chose to use it. That’s how negotiations work.

So stop blaming him for that and stop thinking he should be generous and take some kind of discount. The idea that Jones — or any player — should take less money so their team will have more cap room to spend on other players is preposterous. Players should try to get everything they can, when they can get it. If a team runs out of cap room, that’s a team problem, not a player problem. Players aren’t responsible for managing the salary cap. Good general managers and cap gurus can always figure it out.

Besides, if the Giants use the costly tag on Jones, it’s not only their choice, it’s also their fault. They could’ve had him for $22.4 million this year if they hadn’t declined his fifth-year option. Instead, they gambled and Jones won. So now they are facing a tough decision. If they think he’s a franchise quarterback, they have to pay him like one.

If they don’t, they should let him go, take their chances, and start over with someone else.

Is Jones worth $45M per year?

Is Jones worth $45M per year?

Nick Wright shares his advice to the Giants: franchise tag Daniel Jones.

Clearly they don’t want to start over, which is why haggling over what is probably $5-7 million per year at this point makes no sense. That’s not a cap-killing amount if the deal is structured right. So they should reach a little past their comfort zone, pay him a little more, and get back to work building the team around him.

If they’d rather use the tag than risk paying him too much, that’s on them. But it’s not Jones’ responsibility to help them out of a bind they created. He already helped them out plenty by being a 25-year-old ascending talent at the most important position in football, so they don’t have to spend the next few years hoping they get lucky and find someone else.

Teams that don’t have a quarterback don’t have a chance. Jones has given the Giants a chance.

That comes with a price. So maybe it’s time everyone takes the attitude of Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, who will soon give his franchise quarterback, Jalen Hurts, a record-setting new contract.

“You want me to get sentimental about how it was before we pay our quarterback?” Roseman said. “I think it’s the nature of the business. I think the better thing is when you have a quarterback that’s good enough that you want to pay him.”


The Philadelphia Eagles, not surprisingly, were not thrilled with the news that the NFL Competition Committee has discussed outlawing their famous “push play” on quarterback sneaks — where players literally push Jalen Hurts from behind, helping cross the goal-line or first-down mark. The committee was divided during their discussions at the scouting combine, according to a league source, but agreed to revisit the issue at the NFL owners meeting in March.

“All I know is everything we’re doing is legal and it works,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “And just because people do something that’s really good, doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.”

Roseman is right. The “push” has been technically legal in the NFL since 2006, when the league changed the language of its blocking rules. The Eagles just do it incredibly well. Hurts’ sneaks were successful more than 90 percent of the time.

Multiple league sources told FOX Sports the NFL is unlikely to ban the “push,” at least for now. That could change if more teams start doing it — which they clearly will.

“I’m a little jealous we didn’t come up with the idea,” said new Broncos coach Sean Payton. “When I was asked at FOX about that play, I said ‘If that is allowed, all of us would look at more film and put it in ourselves. If they allow it, you look at how you can do it. If they don’t allow it, you move on and do something else.”


The Washington Commanders are prepared to go into next season with Sam Howell as their starting quarterback, but Ron Rivera made it clear the second-year pro is going to have to fight for the job.

“He’s not our starter,” Rivera said last week. “He’s coming in as a QB1. He’ll get a great opportunity to be our starter. But we do want to find a veteran quarterback.”

Rivera wouldn’t rule out bringing back Washington favorite Taylor Heinicke to be that vet. But it still seems more likely that they’ll dip into free agency. They won’t make a big splash, like they did by trading for Carson Wentz last offseason. They’re more likely to look at a lower tier of free agents, like maybe Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold.


Considering CeeDee Lamb had more catches, yards and touchdowns than every other Cowboys receiver combined last season, it’s pretty clear they need to find a No. 2 receiver this offseason. Even VP Stephen Jones said “it’s fair to say we’re looking hard at” improving their receiver corps.

But he also sounded like he expected WR Michael Gallup (39-424-4 in 14 games last season) to emerge as a viable No. 2.

“Michael Gallup has a great chance to take the next step in terms of what he can do,” Jones said. “Coming off a major ACL (at the end of the 2022 season) I think it’s pretty typical that guys improve from the first year to the second year.”

Gallup reportedly had arthroscopic surgery on his other (right) knee and his ankle last month, too, though he’s expected to be ready for offseason workout program this spring.

Jones also said the Cowboys will “more than likely” use their franchise tag — probably on running back Tony Pollard ($10.1 million), according to an NFL source. Owner Jerry Jones also said they want to keep running back Ezekiel Elliott, whom he said is still a “difference maker.” But he’ll probably have to take a pay cut from the $10.9 million salary he’s due in 2023.

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The SPEAK crew discuss Stephen Jones’ comments on whether the Cowboys should still have faith in Dak Prescott to lead them to a Super Bowl win.


Last week was a bad one for the Washington Commanders organization with multiple reports surfacing that accused embattled owner Daniel Snyder of financial fraud — including one from ESPN that said Snyder’s minority partners accused him of using the franchise as his “personal piggy bank.. His apparent efforts to sell the franchise also appear to be stalled, since he reportedly has no bids yet close to the $7 billion price he’s seeking.

Not surprisingly, NFL owners are expected to discuss Snyder and the sale of his franchise at the owners meetings in March. It does not appear that they will attempt to force him to sell.

Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association released a survey of players that ranked the Commanders as the worst organization for working conditions in the NFL. Teams were rated on eight categories and they actually got an F-minus for the training room, locker room and travel accommodations.

The rest of the NFC East fared much better. The Cowboys ranked fifth, the Giants ranked eighth and the Eagles ranked 14th overall.


The Giants will “most likely” pick up the fifth-year option on left tackle Andrew Thomas, general manager Joe Schoen said (Spoiler alert: They definitely will), at a cost of $14.2 million for 2024. And since Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said wide receiver CeeDee Lamb “is in our plans long-term,” it’s clear Dallas will pick up his $18 million fifth-year option, too.

The Commanders, though, may not pick up the option on defensive end Chase Young ($17.5 million). Rivera hinted at that possibility at the Super Bowl, and a team source said it is a possibility. Teams have until May 1 to decide, and it might hinge on Young’s medical evaluation as he continues to work his way back from ACL surgery.

Teams have until May 1 to decide.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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