How Daniel Jones’ contract impacts the Detroit Lions’ future at quarterback

On Tuesday, the New York Giants reached a deal with quarterback Daniel Jones just before the franchise tag deadline, allowing the team to use the tag where they really wanted it – on running back Saquon Barkley. While the full contractual terms of Jones’ deal are not yet known, here’s what we do know:

This seems to suggest the Giants could have an exit after a few years, but until we see Jones’ complete breakdown of the deal, it’s hard to know exactly how that breaks down, especially without knowing something. as simple as the signing bonus.

But we’re not here to talk about Jones and the Giants. Let’s talk about the impact of this new contract on the Detroit Lions, who are approaching a crossroads at quarterback.

Jared Goff still has two years left on his contract with the Lions, where he will occupy a very affordable cap space of $31 million and $32 million each respective season. However, it is very likely that the Lions and Goff will revisit their relationship after the 2023 season, which will likely lead to talks of a contract extension in the upcoming offseason.

So what is the impact of the Jones deal on these negotiations? Let’s take a closer look:

Jared Goff’s baseline is set

When it comes to production in this league, there is no comparison: Jared Goff was – and currently East– a better quarterback than Daniel Jones. Take any stat you want, even if you’re only looking at Jones’ “breakout” 2022 season, and Goff emerges as the top option in every category not related to rushing.

So $40 million/year is Goff’s floor now, assuming things don’t go terribly wrong in 2023. That’s a significant pay raise, but the Lions could also structure it so that the first or the first two years of this deal include much lower caps than they are paying him even now. Take a look at Patrick Mahomes’ contract, for example. It averages $45 million a year, but the cap for the first three years was $5.3 million, $7.4 million, and then $35.8 million. That’s an extreme example, of course, as the Chiefs squeezed in a bunch of huge roster bonuses at the end of the contract, knowing that Mahomes will be their undisputed starter. The Lions won’t have that luxury, but they can still make the early years of an overtime feel team friendly.

Currently, there are nine quarterbacks who average at least $40 million a year: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Mahomes, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford and Jones.

It’s fair to assume that Goff will be asking for upwards of $40 million, possibly significantly more. As I pointed out earlier this offseason, the Lions can afford a dear quarterback and still build a winner, but they need to be pretty sure Goff can be their man.

If there is any doubt…

Drafting a quarterback should be a serious option as early as this year

If the idea of ​​giving 29-year-old Jared Goff a contract worth more than $40 million a year scares you, then there’s no reason to wait. You need to consider drafting a quarterback right now. The Lions probably won’t have a better opportunity to nab a quarterback. With the draft capital they have (Pick 6, Pick 18, and a few second-round picks), they could easily grab any quarterback they want in this draft class. Obviously, you don’t just catch a quarterback to catch a quarterback – they always have to be your guys, but the Lions are in a perfect position right now to add their quarterback of the future.

Not only would this rookie quarterback enter an ideal offensive situation – a strong offensive line, a young corps of solid receivers – but Detroit would give him the opportunity to slow his progress and develop his skills on the bench for a season. And if Goff comes out in 2023 and keeps the rookie at bay, you either trade Goff for significant assets in 2024 or give your rookie quarterback another year to develop.

Deciding to give the franchise long-term to a rookie quarterback over Goff is inherently risky, of course, especially when Goff is coming off one of his best seasons yet. And if they’ve decided they can hitch their long-term cart to him, then fine. But comments from coach Dan Campbell last week suggest they aren’t entirely comfortable making a long-term commitment to him.

What he did, and what we hoped and thought we would get, is a guy who, he’s our guy. He saved us time here. We think we can win with Jared Goff. And in the meantime, we also know that he won’t be around for the next 10 years. It’s not like Jared Goff was a rookie. So our eyes are definitely on a potential quarterback.

“The question is where do you get that? And it’s something that Brad and I drag on all the time. But we don’t feel rushed right now. We don’t feel rushed, but that doesn’t mean our eyes aren’t on a quarterback.

So, if that’s the case, the quarterback needs serious consideration this year.

But as Campbell also suggests, they don’t have do it this year. If the right quarterback isn’t there at Pick 6 or the trade value isn’t where it needs to be, you can kick the bucket. The risk here, however, is that you probably won’t have the abundance of temporary capital that you have now to make this move in the future.

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