Giants have two franchise tag candidates this offseason

New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney (29) celebrates with running back Saquon Barkley (26) after a New England Patriots missed field goal during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants offseason is officially underway after a disappointing 2023 season, and two big names are candidates to be franchise-tagged next season.

Running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney are both free agents this offseason. Barkley was placed on the tag prior to the 2023 season, and nearly held out of playing in games before a reworked deal in late July prevented such a holdout, while McKinney was not given an extension before the 2023 season despite speculation that he would get one.

Barkley could be placed on the franchise tag again next season

Giants general manager Joe Schoen didn’t rule out tagging Barkley a second time during his end-of-season press conference on Monday.

“That’s an option we have on the table,” said Schoen. “We’ll have those conversations. I’m not saying we will or we won’t. A lot of those conversations will be had over the next month or so.”

Barkley carried the weight of a struggling Giants offense this past season, rushing for 962 yards and scoring 10 total touchdowns for the G-men despite missing three games with an ankle injury.

Barkley will likely be seeking a lucrative deal that puts him among the highest-paid players at his position in the years to come, and after enduring an increased workload in 2023, it will be interesting to see how he handles being franchise-tagged again if that were to occur.

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The Giants have a big decision to make regarding Xavier McKinney

For McKinney, he impressed the Giants brass with two major components: solid on-field production and staying healthy. The safety didn’t miss a single defensive snap in 2023 and was a crucial part of the team’s defensive success they enjoyed.

Schoen spoke highly of McKinney during his press conference on Monday.

“I’m not going to negotiate against myself and make some hyperbolic statement about how great he is,” said Schoen via GiantsWire. “I like McKinney, he’s young, good player, checks all the boxes so we will talk to him.”

McKinney is another candidate to be placed on the franchise tag, especially if the Giants want to retain him for at least one more season. Similar to Barkley, his market is sure to be hefty, given the valuable production he has proven to provide when he is on the field, so New York will have to deeply consider if they want to commit to a long-term deal for the safety.

Either way, the Giants are going to have some big decisions to make surrounding some of their star players this offseason. When negotiations do kick-off for both of the players mentioned, the outcome could shape the course of the franchise’s future.

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