Joe Schoen: We’re not paying Daniel Jones $40 million to hand off to a $12 million back

The Giants’ decision to let running back Saquon Barkley walk in free agency was a calculation that with how much they’ve invested in quarterback Daniel Jones, they’re not paying him to hand off.

That’s how Giants General Manager Joe Schoen described it in a personnel meeting shown in the most recent episode of Hard Knocks. As Schoen discussed why he didn’t want to put the franchise tag on Barkley or sign him to a lucrative contract extension, he said that it ultimately comes down to the $40 million per year contract the Giants have given Jones.

“You’re paying the guy $40 million. It’s not to hand the ball off to a $12 million back,” Schoen said.

It’s just the reality of today’s NFL that quarterbacks are far more valuable than running backs, and a team that has already invested a lot of salary cap space in its starting quarterback usually won’t use a lot of the remaining space on a running back. But the question is whether the investment the Giants made in Jones was a wise one. Schoen acknowledged that the Giants need Jones to prove himself in 2024, the second year of his contract, or the Giants will need to move on.

“This is the year for Daniel,” Schoen said. “The plan all along was to give him a couple years. Is he our guy for the next 10 years? Or do we need to pivot and go find someone else?”

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