Tagged in: fifth year

New York Giants won’t exercise fifth-year option on QB Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have elected to decline the fifth-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones’ rookie contract, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. It would have guaranteed the team’s starting quarterback $22.39 million next season.

The Giants did opt to pick up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the team revealed. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft is now guaranteed $10.8 million for the 2023 season.

Jones, 24, was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft out of Duke. But while the Giants still think he can be their quarterback into the future, he hasn’t yet shown it consistently on the field. Jones has missed matches because of injury each of his first three professional seasons and has thrown just 21 touchdown passes in the past two seasons combined.

Jones’ 24 touchdown passes as a rookie remains a career high.

That made the decision on the young quarterback rather obvious. The Giants didn’t want to guarantee Jones more than $20 million before they saw him perform consistently at a level where there was no doubt that he was a franchise quarterback. They might have high hopes, but it hasn’t happened in the first three seasons playing under three different offensive coordinators.

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General manager Joe Schoen mentioned the cautionary tale of the Carolina Panthers and Sam Darnold not long after he was hired. Darnold is guaranteed $18.9 million this season after the Panthers traded for him and picked up his fifth-year option before he ever played a game for the team. Meanwhile, Carolina spent this offseason trying to land an upgrade at quarterback and are stuck with Darnold on their books.

Cleveland, which ultimately landed Deshaun Watson, is in an alike position with Baker Mayfield, who also had his fifth-year option picked up last year.

It’s not that the Giants don’t have confidence and high hopes for Jones; they do. But if he performs as they expect — under the new regime led by coach Brian Daboll — they can always use the franchise tag next year at around $30 million or sign Jones to a long-term deal. They don’t feel the need to make any commitments at this point.

Jones will remain the Giants’ starter to start this season, and the organization has high expectations despite signing veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year deal this offseason.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” co-owner John Mara said earlier this year. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.”

Mara added later this offseason that either you have your quarterback or you don’t, and he considered the Giants had theirs. In the meantime, Taylor is signed for $5.5 million next year and could potentially serve as a relatively inexpensive bridge option should Jones not pan out.

Lawrence, 24, has been a three-year starter in the middle of the Giants’ defense. He had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

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New York Jets’ Zach Wilson signs rookie deal after missing first 2 days of practice

It took longer than expected, but the New York Jets and quarterback Zach Wilson agreed to terms on his rookie contract Thursday.

The first-round pick and presumptive starter, who missed two days of practice as the two sides haggled over technicalities in the contract language, signed a four-year, $35.15 million contract — a slotted deal that is fully guaranteed.

It contains a $22.9 million signing bonus and a fifth-year team option, standard for all first-round picks.

Wilson, who took a red-eye from Los Angeles and arrived in New Jersey on Thursday morning, was the last unsigned first-round selection from the 2021 NFL draft.

The contract includes offset language and the signing bonus will be paid within 15 days, per a source, details that imply that the sides have compromised because those were the sticking points. Originally, the Jets wanted to defer payments into 2022.

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Coach Robert Saleh, speaking to reporters shortly before news of the deal broke, said he talked to Wilson early in the week.

The conversation was strictly about football, not contract-related, Saleh said. He said he wasn’t worried about the stalemate being a disruption to the team.

“It’s more concern for the kid,” Saleh said. “Every rep is important, so my concern is that it’s two days too many for him. But as far as the installs go and the way we’re preparing the rest of the team, that doesn’t concern me.

“But this young man has a chance to do something special around here that hasn’t been done in a while and every rep matters for him.”

Wilson benefited from a heavy workload in the spring. With no veterans on the roster, he took all the first-team reps.

There was an increased sense of urgency to strike a deal because the Jets are counting on him to be their opening-day starter, although they haven’t revealed that. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are James Morgan and Mike White, neither of whom has regular-season experience. Rookie contract disputes are unusual because the deals are slotted, but teams and agents sometimes haggle over certain clauses.

The Jets include an offset in every contract that has guaranteed money, which provides financial protection if they release the player before the contract is complete. An offset lets a team to cut a player before the end of his four-year contract is completed and have the remaining money reduced by the amount of his next contract.

This isn’t an unusual stance. It’s believed that 30 of the 32 teams use offsets in contracts. The exceptions are the Los Angeles Rams and the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the latter having signed No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence to a deal with no offsets.

Without an offset, a cut player collects the guarantee from his old team plus the money he receives from his new team — aka double dipping.

What complicated the Jets’ negotiation was that at least two of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round received deals without full offsets — Lawrence and Justin Fields (No. 11 by the Chicago Bears). Fields received a partial offset.

Interestingly, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the top pick in 2020 and represented by the same agency that negotiated Wilson’s contract, signed a contract that includes offset language.

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QB Trevor Lawrence signs $36.8 million rookie contract with Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence signed his four-year rookie contract Monday, clearing the way for him to attend the start of training camp in three weeks.

Under the NFL’s rookie slotting system, Lawrence’s deal was projected to be worth $36.8 million and included a $24.1 million signing bonus. He will count $6.7 million against the salary cap in 2021.

The contract also incorporates a fifth-year option that is attached to every rookie deal for first-round selections.

A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that details of the contract includes: Lawrence’s signing bonus will be paid within 15 days and the quarterback is deemed to have passed his physical for signing bonus purposes.

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There is no offset language in the contract, meaning that he would still receive the full amount of guaranteed money left in his contract even if he were to be released and sign with another team.

The majority of Lawrence’s compensation will come in his roster bonuses in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

He will earn that bonus if he is on the 90-man roster on the third day after the mandatory reporting date.

Lawrence will earn his roster bonus even if he is on the active non-football injury list.

With Lawrence under contract, Jacksonville has now signed six of its nine draft picks. Running back Travis Etienne (first round), cornerback Tyson Campbell (second) and offensive tackle Walker Little (second) remains unsigned.

Lawrence is anticipated to be an immediate starter in Year 1. He went 34-2 at Clemson, recording the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback (minimum 30 starts) in college football since 1978.

He finished his college career undefeated in regular-season play and led the Tigers to the national championship as a freshman in 2018.

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