Daniel Jones signs huge deal
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones signed a four-year, $160m contract Tuesday, making him the joint-seventh-highest paid at the position in the NFL.
Jones’ transformation from an accident waiting to happen to a franchise quarterback defies all expectations that were set during his first couple of seasons in the league. That being said, the prevailing opinion is that he has not done enough to warrant such a lucrative extension.
Does Jones’ new contract represent fiscal responsibility or imprudent recklessness?
NFL franchises have a responsibility to be financially intelligent, especially with their quarterback, who is usually the highest paid player on the roster. Does Jones’ new contract represent fiscal responsibility or imprudent recklessness? Vegas Slots Online News did an analysis to find the answer.
Getting a read
Jones just wrapped up his fourth year in the league, finishing the regular season with 3,913 yards, 22 total touchdowns, and the sixth best QBR (60.8) in the league. He appeared in 16 of 17 games and led his team to a 9-7-1 record and the second round of the NFL playoffs.
An even bigger indicator of Jones’ progression was his ball security. His once-glaring turnover problem all but disappeared this season as he only threw five interceptions and lost one fumble. He was also fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (5.9) amongst qualified players.
His 15 passing touchdowns averaged out to just .94 per game and tied for 21st in the league.
Despite the positive markers, Jones still had his critics. His 15 passing touchdowns averaged out to just .94 per game and tied for 21st in the league. Only two players who appeared in 16 games, backup Jacoby Brissett and utility weapon Taysom Hill, threw for fewer TDs.
The Giants also ran a simplified offense that took the pressure off Jones’ shoulders and instead heaped it onto those of running back Saquon Barkley. Evidence of that is found in the yards per attempt category, in which Jones was 24th.
New York’s head coach, Brian Daboll, was also named the Coach of the Year at the end of the season, which again brings Jones’ impact on the offense into question.
Is Daniel Jones overpaid?
Let’s dive further into the question of if Jones is overpaid, first by addressing the question of what it means to be overpaid.
Merriam-Webster defines the word “overpay” as simply “to pay too much to someone or for something.” In the instance of an NFL quarterback, that relates to a combination of team performance and individual success.
The way to win games in the NFL is by scoring points, and no player has more impact on scoring than the quarterback. Based on this, our analysis focused directly on how well players were able to score the football relative to their contract. We did this by dividing a player’s salary by the number of touchdowns they scored in 2022, and if they didn’t appear in all 17 games, how many touchdowns they would have scored had they upheld their average TDs per game.
Note that this list is only for the top 20 earners at the position, which is why a player like Jalen Hurts is not on the list. Salaries were based on what the player is due to make in 2023 unless they are a free agent and have not signed a new deal, in which case their salary defaulted to their 2022 compensation. Retired players (Tom Brady) were omitted from the list.
In the interest of brevity, every calculation will be based on a player’s cost per touchdown in a 17-game season.
- Russell Wilson – $2,282,254.31
- Deshaun Watson – $2,031,802.12
- Matthew Stafford – $1,924,001.92
- Aaron Rodgers – $1,861,913.59
- Kyler Murray – $1,749,525.62
- Daniel Jones – $1,715,265.87
- Matt Ryan – $1,408,450.70
- Ryan Tannehill – $1,384,976.53
- Derek Carr – $1,382,743.36
- Dak Prescott – $1,173,708.92
- Jared Goff – $1,155,172.41
- Lamar Jackson – $1,141,408.45
- Kirk Cousins – $1,129,032.26
- Patrick Mahomes – $1,000,000
- Josh Allen – $989,415.55
- Baker Mayfield – $983,226.63
- Zach Wilson – $664,224.87
- Trevor Lawrence – $306,612.40
- Tua Tagovailoa – $231,110.20
- Joe Burrow – $213,385.24
There are a couple of glaring takeaways from the list of players. First, players such as Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson that signed mega-contracts and drastically underperformed were far and away the most cost-inefficient players in their position.
Another implication reflects a popular trend in the league, which is that teams are often best suited trying to find talented players on rookie contracts that can immediately produce, a la Lawrence, Tagovailoa, and Burrow.
Most, if not all, of the players in the 7-15 grouping would be considered veterans—it’s interesting that players like Mahomes and Allen, despite being on enormous contracts, contribute so much that their cost-efficiency is actually above players earning far less money, such as Ryan and Goff.
players 1-5 had combined records of 21-37 in 2022 and did not make any Pro Bowls
Jones ranking sixth on this list is not a positive sign. Players 1-5 had combined records of 21-37 in 2022 and did not make any Pro Bowls, All-Pro teams, or postseason appearances. On the bright side, he set career bests in nearly every statistical category and has steadily improved in several areas since his rookie year.
Relation to Super Bowl odds
NFL Teams compete for one reason: to win the Super Bowl.
There have been all sorts of different formulas for winning a Super Bowl. It started with having a dominant running game, shifted towards prioritizing stifling defense, and now, it is often about having a high-powered passing attack.
Below is a list of teams with the best Super Bowl 2024 odds, per FanDuel sportsbook, as of March 8, 2023.
Super Bowl 2024 odds
- Kansas City Chiefs +600
- Buffalo Bills +850
- Philadelphia Eagles +900
- San Francisco 49ers +900
- Cincinnati Bengals +900
- Dallas Cowboys +1500
- New York Jets +1600
- Baltimore Ravens +1800
- Los Angeles Chargers +2000
- Green Bay Packers +2500
- Detroit Lions +2500
- Jacksonville Jaguars +2500
It’s no surprise to find the top five the way it is—but what that top five tells us is that financial intelligence as it relates to the quarterback can directly determine if a team is a Super Bowl contender.
Mahomes (Chiefs), Allen (Bills), and Burrow (Bengals) ranked 14th, 16th, and 20th on the earlier list of cost per touchdown in a 17-game season. Brock Purdy of the 49ers and Hurts of the Eagles did not qualify since they weren’t in the top 20 earners at the position but would have been near the bottom of the list, the more preferable side, since they are on low-paying contracts.
Rodgers’ Packers are the only team with a quarterback ranked as a top-five most cost-inefficient player that is in the top ten in 2024 Super Bowl odds, and they barely squeaked into 10th. Prescott (10th in cost-inefficiency) is the next-lowest player whose team also appears among the top Super Bowl contenders.
In conclusion, teams can almost single-handedly determine their chances of winning the Super Bowl by how much they compensate their quarterback relative to their production.
The onus is on Jones to prove that he can rise above the harrowing signs and continue to improve as a player. As it stands, the Giants have taken a massive, potentially franchise-altering risk by paying him such a large amount.