Giants’ owner stopped front office from trading star running back at deadline last season

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) reacts after running the ball against Houston Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that the New York Giants were trending in the wrong direction during the 2023 season, they didn’t elect to sell off the majority of their expiring pieces at the trade deadline.

They did move Leonard Williams to the Seattle Seahawks, getting the 47th overall pick in return, but the Giants had an opportunity to move Saquon Barkley to a competitor, and they decided to hold on in hopes of winning, according to co-owner John Mara.

“I hate trading guys right at the trade deadline because it almost signals that you’re giving up on the season,” Mara said Monday at the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando. “And Saquon, I was still hoping to be able to sign him at some point. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to do it.”

It has been clear from the start that general manager Joe Schoen had no interest in signing Barkley to a long-term extension, but he was toeing the line of pleasing ownership and prioritizing positional value.

Barkley wasn’t the only free agent let go; starting free safety Xavier McKinney was also allowed to sign a deal with another team, the Green Bay Packers.

The Giants Have Started to Change Their Roster Building Plan

With the available money now free, the Giants traded for star pass rusher Brian Burns, which is directly in line with the team’s long-term plan to invest in key positions and change the outlook of the roster. With Barkley now gone, the Giants have no choice but to add more playmakers and potentially turn over the quarterback position, having already met with a significant number of prospects that may be available within the top six picks.

Schoen and the Giants’ brass have already scouted the top quarterbacks, and they are set to take another look at J.J. McCarthy, hosting him for a private workout. The Giants are leaving no stone unturned, but with Barkley now off the team, Mara is completely committed to the front office doing whatever is necessary to get them back in the win column on a yearly basis.

Mara even suggested that he would be fine drafting a quarterback to compete with Daniel Jones, and that might be exactly what Schoen does, resetting the salary cap next year with Jones off the books for the most part and relocating that money toward bolstering the wide receiver position.

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