The New York Giants' offseason began Saturday night following an NFC divisional playoff loss to the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles. Questions of whether quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley would remain with the team were already being asked during the season, and now that the season in over, the talk has only increased.
After the playoff loss, both Jones and head coach Brian Daboll were noncommittal in their answers on whether the quarterback would remain with New York next year. With future negotiations needing to take place, neither side seemed to want to give a definite answer until they're able to have those discussions.
In Monday's end-of-year press conference, Daboll praised his quarterback, saying he brought value to their offense.
"I've said it all year, he's done everything that we've asked him to do as an offensive staff," Daboll said. "And he's done a really good job with operating an executing our offense. I think he's made strides in a lot of different areas; certainly we can all make strides in more, but he's been a good leader for us. Played the quarterback position well for us. I'm happy we had him."
"He's been a good leader for us, played the QB position well for us. I'm happy we had him."— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 23, 2023
Giants coach Brian Daboll on why he wants Daniel Jones to re-sign with New York. pic.twitter.com/AxuaWGL87I
Giants general manager Joe Schoen added that while there is a "business side" to things, he would like to see Jones back next season.
After the team declined to exercise a fifth-year option that would have kept Jones under contract through 2023, the Giants have three options for him this offseason: franchise tag, long-term extension or release.
As a pending free agent, Barkley is another player with question marks surrounding his future. He has been adamant and open about wanting to stay with New York and wanting to be a Giant for life, and it seems like the team feels the same way.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do and he's a good football player," Schoen said. "We'll get into how we want to build this team and allocate our resources, and that's what it comes down to. Again, he's a good football player, he was durable for us this year, he played well, and again he's a guy that we'd like to have back."
Schoen added that Barkley is a good guy and a good teammate.
"He's a good football player ... he's a guy that we'd like to have back."— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 23, 2023
Giants GM Joe Schoen on Saquon Barkley, who will be a free agent this offseason 👀 pic.twitter.com/ACJoYEmjkD
As Schoen mentioned, the NFL is a business, and often the business side of things can overshadow what a player or team wants. Whether this happens with Barkley remains to be seen, but Schoen admitted that while the two parties had productive talks during the team's bye week, they were not close to agreeing on a long-term deal (via The Athletic).
"We had very productive conversations, but ultimately we were off on the value. We agreed to circle back. But no, we were not close," Schoen said when asked about how close the Giants and Barkley were to reaching a long-term deal.
That "circle back" time is just about here.
It appears Barkley isn't trying to break the Giants' bank with his next contract, saying "I'm not really too concerned with resetting any markets. I'm realistic." Still, he's in line for a big payday. According to Spotrac, Barkley's market value is currently projected at $49.3 million over four years for an annual average salary of about $12.3 million. That would rank sixth among running backs, just ahead of the Cleveland Browns' Nick Chubb.
The Giants have the cap space needed to invest in Barkley; the question is whether they want to make that big of a commitment to a supremely talented, yet oft-injured player at a non-premium position.