Daniel Jones Will Make the Vikings Life Complicated — Again.

Daniel Jones Sends
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The New York Giants somewhat stunningly ended the Minnesota Vikings 2022 season five weeks ago in the playoffs, and now that team’s QB1 could be making Minnesota’s offseason a little more complicated.

The Vikings finished 13-4 in 2022, the first season with new head coach Kevin O’Connell. And one of the largest offseason dominos afoot for O’Connell’s team is “what to do” with quarterback Kirk Cousins’ contract. In recent history, the Vikings typically add a year or two onto Cousins’ contract and roll with the pocket passer.

Daniel Jones Will Make the Vikings Life Complicated — Again.

Minnesota could use that strategy again, but age has entered the chat this time. Cousins will be 35 this summer, an age when some quarterbacks historically begin a regression. It’s not a lock for Cousins to “slow down” in 2023, yet no one would be surprised if it happened.

On the Giants side of operations, quarterback Daniel Jones is eligible for an extension as New York decided not to exercise his fifth-year option around this time last year. Jones has a nifty playoff win under his belt thanks to the Vikings, produced a decent 2022 season overall, and is now seeking mucho dinero on his next contract.

Daniel Jones Will Make
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

About Jones’ alleged offseason demands, NFL insider Dov Kleiman tweeted Monday, “Giants QB Daniel Jones wants more than New York has offered him. Possibly as much as $45 million per year, or more. A source tells Mike Florio. Jones has recently switched agents, from CAA to Athletes First.”

If you’re a Vikings fan who wants Cousins back in 2023 at an affordable price — that’s the preferred mindset among Vikings fans (more on that later) — a Jones’ asking price of $45 million is a horror film. It would imply that Cousins can ask for that number, too, and at $45 million, Cousins would send his detractors to the hills with seething resentment.

Vikings, Giants Share Naughty 2022 Stat
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) talk after the game. The New York Giants lose to the Minnesota Vikings, 28-10, in NFL Week 5 on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford. Nyg Vs Min Week 5. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Cousins’ 2023 cap hit is scheduled for $36.2 million, a number paling in comparison to Jones’ $45 million in quarterback-speak. And, to be clear, the Vikings don’t have to extend Cousins at all, but franchises rarely let quarterbacks hit the final year of a contract. It’s just how the business works.

In 2022, Cousins tied an NFL record for most game-winning drives in a single season while producing a statline that ranked 17th in the league per credible QB metrics. Jones ranked 15th. The QB salary market continues to climb, and if Jones can snag $45 million from the Giants — or any team, really — well, Cousins is entitled to compensation akin to Jones’.

Vikings Fans Have Majority
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The moral of the story? Neither man is worth $45 million per season. If Jones’ request is met, the rest of the NFL’s QBs, including Cousins, will enter an arms race. “If Jones can get $45 million, so should I,” would be the rationale among NFL agents.

As 2023 cap hits stand on February 20th, $45 million for Jones or Cousins would plop each as the fourth-highest-paid quarterback on the planet. Jones and Cousins are not the fourth-best quarterbacks on the planet. That is the problem.

Before the Jones rumor, Vikings fans were content with more Cousins, possibly into 2024 and 2025:

The Vikings may have been on track to keep Cousins in 2023 and 2024 for $35-$40 million, but the possibility of Jones netting $45 million is an almighty wrench.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.