New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen affirmed the franchise's desire to retain both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley this offseason on Monday.
Schoen laid out the Giants' plans as Jones and Barkley enter NFL free agency:
That doesn't necessarily guarantee the pair will return to the Big Apple.
In the event New York has to choose between the two, NBC Sports' Peter King described Jones as "the most important asset to keep right now."
"I expect GM Joe Schoen will build a bridge to sign Daniel Jones for at least three years," King wrote. "Not so sure about Saquon Barkley, because of the shelf life of backs."
Prioritizing Jones over Barkley makes sense because of the respective positional values of a quarterback and running back. Formulating a reasonable offer for the 25-year-old might be tricky, though.
Jones unquestionably had his best season in 2022, throwing for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns while running for 708 yards and seven scores. His performance in Sunday's 38-7 NFC divisional round loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was a bit of a reality check. He finished 15-of-27 for 135 yards and one interception.
Assuming 2022 wasn't a mirage, there's no guarantee the Giants could find an upgrade over Jones this offseason. The danger is that he's a younger version of Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins, a quarterback good enough to get you to the postseason while lowering your margin for error in the playoffs.
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Jones' progressions this season were basically "first read/green grass." The Eagles knew that, and they planned accordingly. Take away his first read and contain him in the pocket. You do not want to be saying these things about a quarterback finishing his fourth NFL season.
Schoen may have to thread a difficult needle. Lowballing Jones could leave him feeling alienated and wanting to explore his options elsewhere. At the same time, a big multiyear contract could lock the Giants in with a quarterback who isn't getting them to the next level after a few seasons.
Finding a middle ground between the two is the challenge ahead for Schoen and the front office.