2023 NFL free agency: Four reasons Daniel Jones isn’t so crazy about Giants asking for $45 million a year

I’ll admit, I was scratching my head a little when I saw a recent report that free agent New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones wants possibly as much as $45 million per season.

Not too long ago, Jones was viewed as a bust and turnover machine, and his fifth-year option was declined last season. The $45 million is still raising eyebrows even after he pushed the turnover story in 2022 and led the Giants to their first playoff win since 2011.

However, there are four reasons why Jones commanding $45 million per year isn’t that crazy.

1. Jones was an above-average QB in 2022

By most measures, Jones was an average quarterback in 2022, and at least an above-average signal caller. He had the sixth-best rating in terms of ESPN’s Total QBR, which takes into account rushing, sacks and fumbles. He was 11th in EPA against the running back, 13th in passer rating and 17th in Pro Football Focus QB grade.

Why the high degrees? He had the fewest turnovers per game (0.5) of any qualified QB in 2022 and was fifth in rushing yards at the position (708).

Total QBR


EPA against the return


Passenger rating


PFF QB grade


2. He had a below-average supporting cast in 2022

All of that is even more impressive with a below-average supporting cast.

Jones had a bad offensive line. PFF graded the Ravens’ offensive line 24th in pass blocking and 14th in run blocking. They were worse in ESPN’s pass block and pass block win rate metrics.

He wasn’t a great pass catcher. The collection of Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James, Darius Slayton and Daniel Bellinger was understated and somewhat underrated. However, none of them were in the top 20 in terms of PFF grades at their position or ESPN’s pass receiver ratings.

An improved supporting cast would put a higher ceiling on Jones’ play and address some criticism of his lackluster passing numbers (3,205 passing yards, 15 touchdowns) and short average throw distance (6.4 yards downfield – second-most shortest in the NFL.) in 2022.

OL passport blocking


Block run OL


RB Saquon Barkley


WR Isaiah Hodgins


WR Richie James


WR Darius Slayton


TE Daniel Bellinger


3. Average to above average QBs routinely break the bank

As Cody Benjamin, another NFL writer for CBS Sports, said: “If you have a good enough QB that’s been in your system, you pay what the market tells you instead of his ability to be a playoff team (and your job) compromise by resume. and trying to find the next man of the elite five.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. This has been proven time and time again over the past decade.

At one point, Joe Flacco (twice), Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott were all the “highest-paid player in NFL history” by some measure. I’d argue that 2022 Daniel Jones more or less fits that quarterback mold.

Joe Flacco 2013

$20M per year

Joe Flacco 2016

$22M per year

2017 Derek Carr

$25M per year

2017 Matthew Stafford

$27M per year

2018 Jimmy Garoppolo

$28M per year

2019 Carson Wentz

$107M guaranteed

2019 Jared Goff

$110M guaranteed

2021 Dak Prescott

$66M signing bonus

4. $45M is not what it used to be

Furthermore, $45 million per year for Daniel Jones is not worth anything that would ever be exceeded. It would tie him for the fifth highest paid player in terms of average annual value. It is also the same amount that Patrick Mahomes is paid.

While that may sound awful, it has to be put into context with the rising salary cap. Forty-five million dollars per year is 20 percent of the 2023 salary cap. Twenty percent of the 2021 salary cap is $37 million per year.










Does this mean all the Giants should hand Daniel Jones who is worth $45 million a year? Heck no. The list of excellent QB deals above speaks to that. I’m sure if their teams could go back and do it all over again Flacco, Carr, Stafford, Garoppolo, Wentz and Goff wouldn’t be the highest paid player in NFL history.

Still, based on recent history we shouldn’t be surprised if the Giants do it anyway.

Instead, the Giants should learn from those past mistakes. Jones’ play in 2022 deserves a longer look. However the projected franchise tag value for quarterbacks ($32.4 million) would be more appropriate, or a two-year deal worth $60M-$70M as Jeff Kerr suggests. We’ll soon see what the Giants end up doing with their talented quarterback last season.

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