Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports
DANIEL JONES ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media on Wednesday, the day after he signed a new 4-year, $160 million contract with the team (VIDEO):
Q: There’s a lot of different aspects that go into a contract. What was most important to you about the way this was structured? Was it the average value? The length? The guaranteed (money)? Take us through your thoughts on that a little bit.
A: There’s several really key components to it. And I think going in, it wasn’t really one thing or the other. I think it was the overall deal and how it worked together and how they balanced each other out. So, I don’t think there was one thing that was overidingly more important than the others. I think it was more about the balance of the deal and putting all those things together in the best way we could.
Q: How did negotiations work for you? I don’t think you were sitting down at the table with (senior vice president of football operations & strategy) Kevin (Abrams) and (general manager) Joe (Schoen). How did the communication work as far as you with your agents, your new agents? Can you take us through what that process was like?
A: I was certainly communicating with them a lot and talking to them, getting updates after their conversations with the Giants. And I was keeping pretty close touch with all that. I thought they did a great job.
Q: Was there ever a point where you thought it might not get done? Joe Schoen told us last week that he saw you in the facility on Monday, and he kind of told you, ‘This is your first negotiation. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ Did it get worse before it got better?
A: Yeah, it’s my first time going through it. There’s certainly an emotional component to it as well, and we went up to the deadline, as you know. But it was good. I think there were probably some points where you had more confidence and some points in time where you had less confidence. But I wanted to find a way to work it out, and that was the goal. It was very much my mindset, and I’m glad we did. I’m thrilled to be back.
Q: Obviously, your contract is your contract. And you’re entitled to go for as much as you can, but how cognizant were you of what you get maybe takes from others? And you and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) were linked here as far as franchise tags and things like that?
A: In a situation like this, you’re trying to do what’s best for you and your family while also balancing being part of a team and understanding the goals and vision that we have as a team and as an organization. That was certainly important to me throughout the deal. And I think we found a way to do both those things and to do it the right way for both sides. That was certainly important to me. Saquon – I’ve said it, he means a ton to me as a teammate, as a friend. And he means a ton to us as a player. So, I won’t talk about his business. But that was a piece of it, too.
Q: There have already been, this morning, columns that said, ‘Oh, Daniel’s paid like a franchise quarterback. Now he needs to prove that he is one.’ Do you feel any added pressure, added responsibility, with the new deal?
A: I’ve always felt that responsibility. And playing this position, especially for a team like the New York Giants and this city, you have that responsibility. And I take that very seriously. It certainly doesn’t change. I certainly do feel that, and it’s my goal to earn that every day and in the offseason while we’re preparing for the season and when we get to the season, doing my best and preparing this team to win games and me to put us in a position to do that. Yeah, I take that responsibility very seriously.
Q: You obviously have mentioned, seemingly everyone has mentioned, how close you guys got to a deadline yesterday. From your perspective, emotionally, did you take any time after you got that, ‘Okay, it’s agreed upon,’ and thought about what this process was like? I can’t imagine it’s been easy, especially the last week or so?
A: I certainly did. Yeah, just super grateful for the opportunity and grateful to the Mara family and the Tisch family. And just to be part of this organization has meant a ton to me. It’s been an honor to represent the team. Just very grateful for that and grateful for all the people that helped me get this opportunity along the way: my family, my friends, teammates, coaches, everybody. So, definitely took some time to think about that. I talked to a lot of people. I haven’t talked to everybody yet. Just very grateful.
Q: People always admire the way you’re able to stay even-keel. Was it more challenging to prevent your emotions from getting involved here and riding a bit of a rollercoaster, especially down the final minutes or final hours of what was going on here?
A: There’s certainly an emotional component to it. And you feel the pressure of the deadline. I think we all felt that. And I did as well. I wanted to be here, like I said. And I’m glad we got it worked out. It was always my goal to get it worked out. I’m glad we did.
Q: How did you celebrate this? And how was coming to an agreement on something like this different than being drafted?
A: I had dinner last night with some friends and my agents. Just grateful to have the opportunity to be back. I think it’s similar to being drafted. It’s an opportunity to play, but also an opportunity to go earn it and to prove it and continue to improve as a player and win a lot of football games. That’s my goal, and I’m tremendously excited about the opportunity. But there’s certainly a lot of work to do going forward, and I’m excited for that part of it, too.
Q: Was it at all strange to be in these intense negotiations knowing that no matter the outcome, you were still going to be a Giant? And why is it more valuable to you to be on this long-term deal than on the (franchise) tag? One of the things, you might have lost Saquon if you didn’t get a deal done. But why was that so important to you?
A: Well, I think it’s better for the team. It gives us a little more flexibility, and that’s an important component to it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to find a way to work it out so that it was good for both sides, and it worked. And it allowed us to have an opportunity to do what’s best for us going forward. So, I think that was a key component to it. I think we did that.
Q: I think the question when you mentioned dinner is did you pick up the check then after signing that kind of deal? Was that an expectation there at that point?
A: (Laughs) Yeah, I picked up the tab.
Q: The numbers that were thrown out there throughout the process, there were some big numbers thrown out there, how much did you hear that? And how important was the $40 million mark for you?
A: I think I saw some of that. There was plenty of numbers thrown out. Some may have been true; some may not have been true. It’s a negotiation. That’s part of it. But I’m glad with where we ended up, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited for the opportunity. I think it’s a great deal for both sides and allows us to do some things going forward and continue to grow and improve.
Q: Was that $40 million a benchmark number for you at all? Or was that an exaggeration as well?
A: I think, as I said earlier, it’s more about the deal as a whole – each piece of it fitting together in the best way it could.
Q: Since this was your first time, you obviously have a lot of contacts around the league. (Former Giants quarterback) Eli’s (Manning) in the building. Did you talk to any quarterbacks or any players who have gone through this before for the first time to kind of get a feel for how things would go? Or did you pretty much rely on what your agents had to say?
A: Yeah, I spoke to Eli before the process started and a little bit during. And he gave me some good advice. I think his message was just that things, they’ll work out how they’re supposed to. One day, you’re going to feel good about it. One day, not as good. But just to keep working. Like I said, we had the goal the whole time to get it worked out. So, I’m glad we did. But he gave me some advice. I leaned on my agents and my family, certainly.
Q: Did you talk to any other players that have gone through this, whether it be teammates, veteran teammates, guys you played in college with or anything like that to get some advice?
A: Certainly, my current teammates and some guys who have been through it. I would say I leaned heavily on my agents and my family.
Q: Where were you physically when you found out the deal was done? How did you find out? Do you remember what time it was?
A: I was in the building. I think it was 3:53 or 3:54, something like that. It was right up next to the deadline.
Q: Who did you find out from? Did your agent call you or just find you in the hallway? Or how did that happen? Were you in the room?
A: They told me. My agent told me where it was, and I accepted it. So, it was exciting. Like I said, very grateful, very appreciative about the opportunity.
Q: Why was it important for you to change agencies? And did you feel like the time it took for you to do that put some pressure on both sides to kind of make it happen in a short amount of time?
A: I’m certainly very grateful and appreciative of CAA and have some really strong relationships with those guys. I just thought this was the best thing for me going forward to work with Athletes First. And it was great working with them. I think we worked hard these last few weeks to get it done. And I don’t want to speculate on how it would’ve gone if it was different. You never really know. But we got it done, and we’re here. We’re excited about it. I’m excited to be back.
Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants about going out and getting a number one receiver, adding to the receiving corps? Was part of you committing here long-term a commitment and a belief that they were going to go and further upgrade your weapons in the passing game so that you could go and earn it and prove it?
A: I think that’s a question probably for Joe (Schoen) and Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll). So, none of that was discussed specifically. We were focused on my deal, and I was focused on my business and getting the deal done. And I’m excited about it.
Q: Was there ever a moment – during the season, after the season, during these negotiations – where you had to say to yourself, ‘I might not be a Giant long-term,’?
A: I think it was always my goal to be back here and to be here long-term. I’ve really enjoyed being here. I think it’s a special place. It’s a special organization to be a part of. So, it was always my goal and my hope that we’d find a way to work it out and that they’d bring me back. I’m excited about that. I think you go through times where you’re more confident, times where you’re less confident. But it was always my goal and hope to be back.
Q: I heard what you said toward the beginning about Saquon, but you’ll forgive me if I ask you yet another question about Saquon Barkley. Is it your expectation that you’re handing off the ball to him in September and he’s a teammate and he’s also happy with everything going on with the Giants? You know him better than most.
A: I’ll let Saquon speak for himself. He’s meant a ton to me as a teammate, as a player. He’s a tremendous part of what we’re doing. So, he’s a big part of this team. I’ll let him speak about his business. He means a lot to me. I’ve loved playing with him.
Q: I assume it’s taken weeks or months to get this contract together. Did they tell you how long it’s going to take to dot all the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s until you can finally put your signature on it? Or have you done that yet?
A: Yeah, I signed it last night.
Q: Do you have any part in how much your cap hit will be? Or is that something you leave to Joe and the agents or whatever?
A: I think that’s something that I let them figure out. I’m not an expert with any of that stuff or how it all works. So, I let them handle that.
JOE SCHOEN ADDRESSES THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss quarterback Daniel Jones as well as other team personnel issues (VIDEO):
Q: Now that everything is done, could you bring us inside the negotiations a little bit? Obviously, it went up to the deadline. It was a lot of talks in the last week or so. What were the sticking points, and what brought it over the goal line?
A: It started roughly, I think it was three weeks ago today, when Athletes First, their group flew out here. We had a dinner initially. They were actually in the building Thursday, Friday, for a couple of days. We started our initial conversations then. And then we kind of went remote after that up until the Combine. So, we were in constant communication with them. I use that ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.’ We started off; we were far apart. Then, just over the days, weeks, hours, we eventually got closer. It pretty much came all the way down to the finish line, I think. Literally, it was like 3:54. The deal got done. And there was a lot of moving parts to it. But without getting into the details of the sticking points and whatnot, I thought for the most part, at the end of the day, we’d get a deal done. Again, I said it all along that franchising him wasn’t best for the franchise and it wasn’t best for (quarterback) Daniel (Jones). So, at the end of the day, I was pleased to get it done. It definitely went up to the wire.
Q: You talk a lot about walkaway numbers and lines in the sand. Did you have to slide that at all as the clock was ticking yesterday? Or did you hold firm at whatever that number was in your mind throughout the process?
A: All the way to the end, you’re not going to get everything you want in a negotiation. Rarely is that ever going to happen. I think that goes for both sides. There was give and take. People were standing firm on what was most important for each side. At the end of the day, each side had to give a little bit. That’s why it went down to the wire. We’re happy we were able to get it done.
Q: You came in here with Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) and were evaluating everybody and certainly did not have to fall in love with Daniel Jones as a quarterback. You didn’t draft him. By giving him this deal, are you saying that you feel you can win a Super Bowl with him?
A: Yeah, that’s the goal. Everybody’s goal is to win a Super Bowl. I think Daniel, he played well his rookie year. He played well for us this past year. I think the coaching staff has confidence in him. As an organization, we have a confidence in him. We’re going to continue to build the team around him. That’s the ultimate goal.
Q: Would you say that this contract is about what he can do rather than what he has done? Because around the league, a lot of people look at this and say, ‘Daniel Jones – $40 million a year? No way.’ And they just recite numbers that show he’s not a $40 million a year quarterback. So, why is he?
A: We can’t worry about what people are saying outside the building. All we care about is inside these walls. And we’ve got a very talented, experienced coaching staff and a very talented personnel staff, I believe. And what matters is what we think inside this building. That’s how we’re always going to make decisions. We’re not going to worry about the outside noise. And we’re going to be convicted in what we’re doing. It’s a well thought out process, and we’re happy with the decision that we made. And we’re happy to move forward with Daniel.
Q: Did you put any pressure on yourself as the process moved along – the idea that you knew what you wanted to accomplish, and you knew what you didn’t want to happen? As it started getting closer, did you have to dig in and maybe learn a little bit about yourself in this negotiation as far as how to handle it, how to deal with the emotions? We just asked Daniel whether that was on the other side of the table or not? From your perspective, what did you come away with down the stretch of this negotiation?
A: I think the quarterback deals are always going to be the – I talked to a couple of general managers at the Combine. The quarterback deals are the difficult ones. I went through one a few years ago with (Buffalo Bills quarterback) Josh (Allen). I learned a lot from how (Buffalo Bills general manager) Brandon (Beane) handled the situation. (Senior Vice President of Football Operations & Strategy) Kevin Abrams did a great job. (So did Director of Football Operations) Ed Triggs, (Football Operations Assistant) Charles Tisch, (Football Data & Systems Coordinator) Max Kirin, (Director of Football Data & Innovation) Tyseer Siam. They all did a great job whether it was stats, where we were going with our incentives, contract structure, whatever it was, the negotiating part. They all did an amazing job. Last year, we didn’t have a lot of money. So, this is kind of my first time going through a major deal with the team and the negotiating team that’s here. And they did a phenomenal job. So, there was some learning there back and forth. I know I’m stubborn. I know I like to dig in. Some of that came out, probably different sides of me that those guys hadn’t seen. But my experiences that I had in Buffalo, I leaned on some of that. Again, it was a deal we wanted to get done. So, you have to be willing to be flexible with these deals. That’s how we eventually got it done – just being flexible and doing what’s best for the franchise. I was at peace with whichever way we went with it at the end, whether it was franchise (tag) or getting the deal done. But ultimately my job was to do what was best for the franchise and keep that in mind. I think where we landed was best for both parties.
Q: Did you guys have kind of a drop-dead time where you said, ‘You know what? We can’t be messing around knowing that Wi-Fi goes down and the tag doesn’t go into the league office.’ We had that fax issue years ago with (former Broncos defensive end Elvis) Dumervil, I think it was.
A: That came up. One of our guys was saying, ‘I don’t trust the Wi-Fi. We’ve got to get this in.’ So, that was real. We tried to propose like, ‘Hey, noon deadline. Let’s agree to something by noon and then that way we don’t have to scramble at the end.’ And that didn’t happen. We went all the way to the deadline. We were scrambling. We were prepared. We had several emails prepared, depending which way everything went. Fortunately, I think the best-case scenario came to fruition.
Q: Obviously, with you guys extending Daniel, you were able to franchise tag (running back) Saquon (Barkley). So, I was just wondering where things stand right now with him. Are you guys still negotiating? How are those negotiations going? Is there hope you might be able to get something long-term done with him as well before the new league year begins?
A: I’m going to talk to Saquon today. I talked to him yesterday before we put the franchise tag on him. Again, we’ve had deals out, whether it’s the bye week or recently. We’re going to continue to negotiate. We love Saquon. He’s a good teammate. He’s a captain. He’s a hell of a player. So, right now, he’s under the franchise tag. As we build the team and continue with our offseason plan, we’ll do what’s best for the team. We’re still mapping that out.
Q: Daniel said he was in the building yesterday when the deal went down. I was wondering if you were able to talk with him after, what those conversations were like and now that it’s finally settled, what it was like to kind of see him in that atmosphere and that environment.
A: I think it was a big relief for everybody. It was stressful enough over the three weeks as we’re going through the process. But then with the time crunch at the end, it was just added stress on top of it all the way up to the deadline. I think there was a sense of relief on all parties afterwards, gave some big hugs. Then I ran off to do the other things that we needed to do before four o’clock. Again, he was here late last night to sign the deal. I think there was just a lot of relief on both sides.
Q: For the fans, you can sit around, and you can say, ‘The Giants went into free agency with $48 million – or whatever the number is – in cap space.’ For the average guy, you’re going to think, ‘Well Daniels is getting $40 (million). Saquon is getting $10 (million). Do you have anything for anybody else?’ Can you explain to them how there is money available for other people?
A: Yeah, with the salary cap and the signing bonus, again, where we were, the way we did Daniel’s deal with the signing bonus, that spreads out over four years. And then his P5 is $9.5 (million) this year. And then the proration of the signing bonus, which I think was $36 (million), so that’s where we have money there. Everybody looks at the $40 (million) number, but that frees up some money. We’ll see what happens with Saquon. The franchise number is just over $10 (million). If you extend him, and there’s a signing bonus involved, you can free up more cap space. There’s more people. (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence is a guy we’ve started talking with his representatives. He’s on the fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So, the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the length of the contract up to five years, and that’s how you’re able to lower the yearly amount that counts against the cap.
Q: And it leaves you money for everybody else?
Q: You mentioned that you’ve had conversations with Dexter Lawrence’s reps, but I’m just wondering: with Daniel having fallen into place, Saquon a tag in place now, where do you stand with decisions regarding (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay? Is he a pre-June (cut) or a post-June (cut)? And also, what about (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), who I think you’d mentioned you were looking to maybe do something with him?
A: Those are ongoing conversations. We got back from the Combine late Sunday night. Athletes First was here on Monday. The meetings that I’ve had this morning are usually done the Monday after the Combine. So, it was kind of a ‘wait and see’ until we knew where we landed with Daniel and Saquon. And now that we’re there, now we’re really going into strategy meetings leading up to Monday when we can start negotiating with free agents. Kenny – we’ll see. There’s a good chance that we just take the hit this year. We already have some money that’s dead money in 2024. Just to get through this past season, we had to do some financial moves and actually kick dead money into 2024. So, if we can take our medicine this year, I think that’ll help us in 2024 and get out of the business of having a lot of dead money in any year.
Q: The advantage to making Kenny a post-June 1 (cut) is that you don’t get to use the money after June 1, but you get a lot more. And you of course have a spillover to the following year when the cap goes up. Might that be an option for you to consider, considering that will give you enough to get you through 2023, plus if you want to extend somebody, now you have a nice little cushion?
A: That can be said for next year if you’re sitting there with $17 million in dead money, and it’s 12 months from now, (you might think), ‘Gosh dang, I wish we would have just taken our medicine last year. We’d have more money.’ And we have (tackle) Andrew Thomas who’s a good player, (safety) Xavier McKinney – there’s other players on the roster who you may want to extend, or you may want to go outside the building. So, if we have the financial flexibility just to take our medicine and take on the dead money this year, that may be better. But those are all decisions that we’ll make moving forward. We’re having those meetings now and going through what the best-case scenarios are. We still have until Wednesday to make that decision.
Q: Now that you have Daniel under wraps, and I’m going to presume Saquon, how do you go about making this offense better and making this team better around what is now your franchise quarterback?
A: There’s several avenues. Now we have some financial flexibility this year. This morning, we’re going over the free agent market. I know people want to talk about offense and the receivers a lot, but we’re still building a team in all three phases. We’re going to look to upgrade offensively, defensively and our special teams unit. So, it’s nice, again, to have the draft capital that we have, the financial flexibility we have to really start building this thing. I don’t want to say this starts the build, because we made some moves last year and through the draft and some waiver wire claims that are still going to be here. But this is finally where we have flexibility and draft capital, second draft class. And we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.
Q: You inherited somewhat of a mess last season. Is there a way you would be able to explain to us how much better you feel about the organization right now and its flexibility in some respects?
A: (Laughs) I’ll give you a good example. We were just talking about a player. I won’t name the position or anything. We were like, ‘Yeah, we’re guessing his market might be $2.5 (million),’ and I was like, ‘We can afford that. It’s only $2.5 (million). We can actually afford it.’ We’re not shopping for minimum players anymore. So, even players like that that can be really good depth players will make us that much better. So, just having the flexibility now to be creative, go get players at maybe a little bit higher value, but also being able to sign, whether it’s tier three players, two, one, however you do it. We can map it out, and there’s players that we can go procure now that maybe we weren’t in the past. So, this offseason we’ll build a bit. I still believe in building through the draft. And we can sign guys in free agency to help the roster. I still think with Daniel and Dexter coming down the road and some of the other players, you’re still going to need to build through the draft because I think there’s going to be some players who will be making good money on our roster. So, it’s still going to be important.
Q: Did you hear from anyone in Buffalo congratulating you? You went through that with Josh, obviously. And now you have your own situation.
A: Yeah, I had a few. A lot of those. And talking with Brandon (Beane); I talked to him last night. I watched him go through this, but until you actually go through it, you don’t realize the stress, the pressure, the back and forth and sleepless nights and how much it weighs on you. I told him I totally understand now those mornings when he came in and he looked like hell because he wasn’t sleeping. And I knew exactly where he was.
Q: In the eleventh hour when you said both sides had to stand for what they wanted most and then concede some things. As Daniel ends up getting $40 million – getting his guaranteed money – what do you feel like the team got in concessions that were important to you guys at the end of the day?
A: I don’t want to get into the details of it, but we came to a spot where what was important to them and what was important to us, we came to an agreement. They got what they wanted, and we got what we wanted. And there were some concessions on other things that maybe weren’t as big of a priority. So, we hashed that out all the way up to the end. And I think where they gave and where we gave, I really do (think that) the best deals are won when both parties are happy at the end. I think that’s the landing spot we came to.
Q: (Safety) Julian Love looks like a guy who you now have to turn your attention to. Wondering if you have any optimism that that will get done or if you feel that there’s still a gap there with about a week to play with here?
A: That’s a good question. We’re going to reach out to our UFAs today. Kevin Abrams did an amazing job, Ed Triggs, those guys did awesome, Charles Tisch. We’re going to start reaching out to the agents today, kind of seeing where they are, where we are. We’re going to see if we can get something done before Wednesday, when the new league year starts. We’ll be in constant communication with those guys over the next few days.
Q: How involved or not involved was (President and Chief Executive Officer, Board Director) John Mara in this deal actually happening, at the end getting done? How involved was he in the process?
A: John Mara, (Senior Player Personnel Executive, Board Director) Chris Mara, (Executive Vice President, Chairman of The Board) Steve Tisch, I got a text chain with them. I called them. I talked to them. I kept them abreast since the beginning of the process we started three weeks ago. So, phone calls or text chains just keeping them abreast of what was going on.
Q: How much time do you guys think that you and their side put in in the last two or three days? I know they came out here Monday. Did you guys pull an all-nighter that night? How long were you working on it? Were there points where you guys separated and were like, ‘Man, I’m not sure we’re getting there,’?
A: We were here late Monday night, back in early Tuesday morning. It was on our mind that last 72 hours – I’d say the last three weeks because we’ve been in constant communication. But them being here physically, we met with them nine straight days up to the end, in person. Nine straight days of meetings; that’s a lot of time, whether it was at the Combine or when they were here. So, a lot of time. It got a little dicey as it was getting close to 3:30, 3:40. There was part of me that was like, ‘We may not get to the finish line.’ Again, the last four or five minutes, we tied a bow on it, luckily.
Q: You said both sides kind of stood ground on what was important to them. I’m curious: what was important to you when you went into this deal? What did you want to get out of it – a big picture?
A: I wanted to know we had our quarterback here and it wasn’t a franchise tag type of teal. So, to me, that was a worst-case scenario – putting the franchise tag on him. But I also knew I had that as a tool. So, the deal had to make sense for the franchise, both short-term and long-term. That’s what was important to me. The fact that we didn’t have to put the franchise tag on him and the way the deal was structured and the years, I think both parties were happy at the end.
Q: When a new regime comes in – you and Dabs came in last year – this is not how this usually goes when there’s a quarterback in place that there’s a question about. I’m curious if a year ago you thought you’d be here today – signing Daniel to a long-term contract and when you really thought that that’s the direction that you wanted to go.
A: I would say if I thought I was going to be here a year ago, I would’ve done the fifth-year option. But again, I knew from doing work on Daniel coming out of the draft, the type of person he was. From everybody in the building, the type of person he was, his work ethic. He has all the physical tools. He’s athletic. He can make all the throws. Just the situation he was in, I do think you have to look into that. Year two and three, what he went through. The talent that was around him, the injuries. There’s a lot that went into it. But being around Daniel for the last 13 months and seeing him play and the fourth-quarter comebacks and winning a playoff game on the road, there’s a lot of positives that a 25-year-old young man just displayed throughout the season. And the upside, I’ve got a lot of belief in our staff and Daniel’s work ethic and their relationship that will continue to grow, and Daniel will continue to get better. If he’s just at his floor right now, I’m really excited about what his ceiling is going to be.
Q: You mentioned Saquon, but he had said as soon as the season ended that if he was tagged, he would not be happy. Do you get the impression right now that he is not happy? Or have you alleviated that by saying, ‘We’re still working here, Saquon,’?
A: I haven’t talked in-depth with Saquon yet. I’m going to talk with him today. That’s negotiations. We had some deals out there, and we tried to get a deal done with him and his representatives. And we couldn’t. I think both parties knew at the end of the day that this was an option, and if he’s frustrated, I can understand some of that. We could be frustrated as well that we weren’t able to get a deal done. I love Saquon. He’s a good player. He’s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Q: How much of an impact, now that you do have some money to go out and spend, how much of an impact do you think free agency, outside free agents, can have on improving your team this offseason?
A: At certain positions, I think it’ll have a major impact, depending on where we go and the price point. Again, we can’t negotiate until Monday. So, we’re not really certain where some of these players are going to be from a financial standpoint, contract years and those types of things. So, we’ll be fiscally responsible with the moves that we make. Again, I think when you’re signing people outside the building, you’ve got to make sure you’re right on the character, the medical. It’s not like the draft where we can go to the Combine, and we can do physicals on these guys and see where they may have previous injuries and what those look like. You don’t get to interview them and go to their schools and all that stuff. So, we’ve got to be diligent with our research on the players and also, like I said, be fiscally responsible with where you pay these guys. So, we’re going to do our research. I think we’ve got some players targeted that will make impacts if the contract structure is right. And again, if not, we have plan B, C and D if we need to go there.
Q: Just following up on (a previous question) about Julian. You had said last week, ‘Some guys have been released. Let’s see where the safety market is going.’ How do you feel about, without naming any names, this free agent safety market?
A: I think there’s some depth there. I really do. When you’re looking at the markets, I think you really need to look at the draft, too. Let’s say it’s a deep safety market in free agency, and there’s some really good safeties in the draft, well then sometimes that suppresses the market. We’ll take all that into account. If a player and their price gets out of hand, we also know what the landscape of the draft looks like. There’s different avenues where you can acquire players. Again, we’ll make sure that we’re aware of all those.