Legendary Giants quarterback Eli Manning spent some time watching Daniel Jones lead his old team this season, and he apparently liked what he saw.
Jones had the best season of his four-year NFL career under first-year head coach Brian Daboll, prompting Manning to encourage the franchise to sign the 25-year-old to a long-term contract extension. .
«I was proud of Daniel, the way he was playing, learning another offense and picking it up,» Manning told ESPN on Tuesday.
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The Giants finished with a 9-6-1 record this season and Manning credited Jones with being able to lead the team to wins late in games.
«Just the way he played in the fourth quarter of several games and led the team back to victory, which was amazing; that’s what you want from your quarterback. To do it so quickly with the new offense, the way That we were able to compete, make the playoffs, win a playoff game, that’s amazing.
«I hope he’s rewarded for that. I hope he’s the Giants’ quarterback for a long time.»
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The Giants have expressed interest in retaining Jones, but it’s unclear if the team will opt to use the franchise tag or negotiate a multi-year contract extension.
«We’re happy Daniel is here,» general manager Joe Schoen said last week. «Hopefully we can do something with his representatives. That would be the goal, to build a team around him where he can lead us to win a Super Bowl.»
Earlier this week, teams learned that next season’s salary cap will be set at a record $224.8 million. A contract extension for Jones would certainly have implications for the Giants’ salary cap.
The franchise will also have a decision to make about star running back Saquon Barkley, who will be a free agent this offseason.
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Jones has also publicly expressed interest in staying in New York.
«I really enjoyed my time here, and I want to be here,» he said last week. «I think there’s a business side to all of this, and a lot of it I can’t control. I have love and respect for this organization and property and the guys in this locker room.
«So I would love to be here. I really enjoyed being here, and we’ll see how it all works out.»
Manning was present during the Giants’ blowout loss in the divisional round to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
But the playoff loss didn’t seem to shake Manning’s or the team’s faith in Jones. But Manning admitted that it will be difficult for him to cheer on Philadelphia in next week’s Super Bowl.
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«It’s tough. It’s tough in the sense that I generally root for the NFC in most of the Super Bowls we don’t play. It’s tough rooting for the Eagles,» Manning said. «There’s so much kind of hate over the years. Not hate, just the rivalry that competes against them.»