The New York Giants, guided by General Manager Joe Schoen, are navigating a challenging path as they look to rebuild the team following a disappointing 2023 season. With several key decisions looming, Schoen faces the task of reshaping the roster to set the team on a course for success.
Key Free Agents: Barkley and McKinney’s Futures
The Giants are at a crossroads with two of their key players approaching free agency. Safety Xavier McKinney is seeking a substantial contract while running back Saquon Barkley is also set to hit the open market.
Last season, the Giants used the franchise tag on Barkley, accounting for $10.1 million against the salary cap. Barkley, looking for a more substantial and fair deal, may hold out if tagged again. Discussions regarding his contract are expected to take place at the upcoming NFL Combine.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, in a recent interview, highlighted Barkley’s value to the team, suggesting that Barkley should have been prioritized for a contract extension over quarterback Daniel Jones. Barkley’s influence on the field is undeniable, as seen in his performance last season with 1,242 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns. Despite a slight drop in yards per attempt, Barkley’s role as a key playmaker and leader remains critical for the Giants.
Improving the Offensive Line and Barkley’s Role
The Giants are focused on strengthening their offensive line, aiming to enhance both pass protection and run blocking. The arrival of Carmen Bricillo from the Las Vegas Raiders, who led a top-tier rushing attack in 2022, could be a game-changer for Barkley. A stronger offensive line could provide Barkley with better opportunities, maximizing his potential and influence in the game.
While Schoen may be hesitant to invest heavily in the running back position, a balanced approach that offers “fair” compensation might persuade Barkley to stay. However, the lack of significant communication between the Giants and Barkley’s representatives raises questions about the likelihood of a long-term extension.
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Decisive Moments Ahead for the Giants
In the coming months, the Giants’ decisions regarding Barkley and other key players will shape the team’s future. With the NFL Combine on the horizon, Schoen and the Giants’ leadership will have to weigh their options carefully, balancing financial considerations with the need to field a competitive and cohesive team. The direction they choose will be crucial in determining the Giants’ trajectory in the upcoming seasons.