Was the Giants’ decision not to trade Saquon Barkley about more than just football?

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Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants (2-6) have seen their season crumble before having the chance to gain traction. Not dealing star RB Saquon Barkley at the trade deadline has kept it from getting any worse. Albeit, could the team’s decision to retain Barkley have been about more than just on-the-field play?

Giants Keeping Barkley About Saving Face Says One Reporter

The way New York Daily News reporter Pat Leonard sees it, New York’s refraining from dealing Barkley was heavily influenced by factors including money and attendance at MetLife Stadium:

“It would be about keeping fans in the stands for this year’s four remaining home games. It would be about recommitting to Barkley as the face of the Giants’ franchise only months after pulling Barkley’s face off all the team’s promotional material for the 2023 season in the spring. Only months after demonstrating the Giants viewed him more as a complement to Daniel Jones.”

Leonard wrote firmly about how the Giants inking Barkley to another franchise tag ahead of the 2023 NFL season put the confidence of the franchise in Jones over the supremely talented rusher.

Jones has struggled mightily in 2023 with six interceptions in five games and has battled a neck injury that compromised his time on the field.

While franchise tags have more commonly been given to star running backs over quarterbacks in recent years, Barkley’s dynamism and impact are unequivocally the best thing going for Big Blue despite Jones elevating his play in 2022 and leading the Giants to the playoffs that year.

Did the Leonard Williams Trade Point to the Giants Looking Past This Season?

The Giants dealing DE Leonard Williams ahead of the deadline for draft capital was an investment for future seasons that took away a bright spot in their defense. Williams contributed to a top-10 defense against the pass, though, New York has struggled against the run. His absence will put more pressure on the Giants’ secondary to stick with their men on longer possessions.

The Williams move also made it clear that the Giants aren’t looking to apply pressure and make a second-half postseason rally.

A Barkley deal would have certainly screamed tanking from Big Blue’s front office. Now, Barkley’s $10.1 million deal is set to expire at the end of this winter and the franchise will again have to decide whether to sign him to a multi-year deal, franchise tag him again, or make a deal with another team happen.

Owner John Mara and head coach Brian Daboll have both expressed wanting Barkley to remain a Giant for life. Barkley also remains committed to the franchise. It remains to be seen if business will get in the way of their uniform mentalities.

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