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Big Blue View mailbag: Saquon Barkley trade, more questions

The mail’s here!

It’s time to open the Big Blue View Mailbag and answer some New York Giants-related questions. We start this week with a couple of Saquon Barkley questions.

Gabriel Rossettie asks: The Giants are 5-1. We all believe that they can keep winning and make the playoffs. I also believe that they should trade Saquon Barkley if they can land a 1st round pick plus. Saquon’s value as an offensive weapon has been re-established. Leaving aside the Giants’ record, the timing is ideal for a move. But management would weather a great deal of criticism, the Giants’ record being what it is. I think Schoen would dare to do it. And that he would be right to do it at the right price. It would be a temporarily unpopular move, but it would cement him as a GM with the courage of his convictions about building a long-term winning franchise. Do you agree?

Doug Mollin asks: I’m sure the McCaffrey trade has put Saquon’s market value in the minds of Giant fans.

On one hand, Saquon could/should command a bit more I would think. Instead of a second, third, fourth and fifth-rounder coming back, maybe a first, second and third? Not sure if Saquon’s pending free agency makes him easier or harder to trade (could the new team franchise him?)

On the other hand, the Giants are 5-1 and in the playoff picture. Does a Saquon trade send a bad message to the team? Do we skip over this being a rebuilding year and see how far we can go?

I’d be tempted to do it, but not sure I would do it ... how do you trade your best player away?

My question is, would you make the trade (a 1, 2 and 3)? And do you think Schoen would?

Ed says: First of all, Gabriel, do “we” all believe the Giants will keep winning and make the playoffs? I don’t know that to be true. Anyway, that’s not the question you and Doug have, so let me get to the Barkley stuff.

I absolutely believe GM Joe Schoen would trade Barkley — if the deal is one that he believes would be in the long-term best interests of the franchise. I keep saying this and Giants fans get mad at me, which I understand, but Schoen’s job is to take the emotion out of the equation, to sit above the fray, to remember that despite the 5-1 record and the excitement it has generated, the Giants are a loooong way from being a finished, championship-caliber, product. His job is to get the Giants to that point.

Does trading Barkley help the Giants get to that point? If the price is right, it might. What is the right price? I don’t know, but for me it starts with a first-round pick. The Christian McCaffrey deal is a good starting point, but I don’t want a deal that some chart tells me “equates to” a first-round pick. I want a first-round pick.

Say the Buffalo Bills come calling. Their second-round pick right now is No. 63. No chance I’m taking that as the best piece of the return. I want their No. 1, which is now No. 31 and figures to be somewhere from 29-32. And I want more. I want a couple more picks, including something no lower than a third-rounder. I also want one of 24-year-old Zack Moss or 23-year-old James Cook, Buffalo’s backup running backs.

Would I make the trade? Sure, if I was bowled over and thought it was best for the franchise. Months ago I said I believed that was the right course of action. I do think you run the risk of having an angry fan base and, more importantly, an extremely angry locker room. You have to be willing, and able, to smooth that over.

Right now, though, I think the best course of action might be to keep Barkley, franchise tag him next season — and probably the year after that — and then let him go find money somewhere when you have gotten what are likely to be his best years.

Edwin Gommers asks: With the Giants being 5-1, it’s almost hard to imagine they will be (big time) sellers at the trade deadline. Based on the current situation what do you think their strategy will be and what are some names to watch? Could they be buyers? Say some WR help for Jones?

Ed says: Edwin, the video I did for last week’s mailbag answers this question. It’s a bit lengthy, I know, but it explains my thoughts on this.

I will say this. First and foremost everyone needs to remember they have very little cap space. They can’t go add players who would cost them a lot of money this year. They could add, if it makes financial and long-term sense. They could subtract, if that helps their future.

I believe that if they do anything at all it won’t necessarily be about 2022. It can’t be about the short term. The 5-1 record is nice, but the Giants are not Super Bowl contenders this year. I don’t see that as realistic. They are still building this team and trying to put pieces in place to improve the long-term outlook. Anything they do has to be about the long term.

Bob Donnelly asks: Despite the 5-1 start the Giants are not a team that strikes fear in their opponents. Respected? Definitely. But to this point they haven’t dominated anyone, not that we would expect that of a franchise in rebuild mode.

Six weeks in the passing game leaves much to be desired. O line protection and injuries to interior linemen and receivers are of course the biggest issues.With some players expected to return over the next few weeks, IF they can get to “full strength”, do you foresee much improvement in the passing game in the second half of the season?

Ed says: I do, Bob. I think Wan’Dale Robinson showed a glimpse of what he can do last Sunday. Keep in mind, though, that he only played 15 snaps. His playing time, and production, should go up. Daniel Bellinger is becoming a bigger part of the offense. Darius Slayton is giving the Giants something. If Kadarius Toney can ever get healthy, he should help. I think they can use Saquon Barkley more as a receiver, as well.

The Giants are not going to evolve into a pass-first ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ team this year. It’s apparent they will need to get more out of their passing attack at some point, though. I’m sure they know that, too. I think it’s important to remember something that Brian Daboll repeated several times during training camp — this is year five or six for him in this offense, but it is Year 1 for this team. There is more to come.

The other thing is, let’s see what happens at the trade deadline. I’m not going to be shocked by anything that happens at wide receiver. The Giants could add or subtract, based on whether a move makes financial sense this year and overall sense long-term.

Mike Buscemi asks: Like every Giant fan, totally happy where we stand at five and one. A problem I noticed for the last 2 weeks closing out the game we left too much time on the clock for Green Bay and again with the Ravens we left a 1:41 and two timeouts we have to do a better job with the clock who’s responsibility is it?

Ed says: Mike, I honestly feel like this is a case of trying to find a problem where one does not exist.

Against the Green Bay Packers, you have to be talking about the first half. The Giants kicked a touchdown there with 1:15 left in the half which the Packers answered with a field goal to close out the half.

I’m not sure how you wanted to see the Giants manipulate the clock. They got the ball with 7:25 left and took more than six minutes off the clock. They didn’t use any timeouts. They went 86 yards in 6:10. How would you have them go slower?

Remember last year when the Giants were outscored 79-0 in the final two minutes of the half? That was worth complaining about. Not this.

Same question last week against the Baltimore Ravens. How would you have them go slower? They got the ball at the Baltimore 13-yard line with 2:50 play. Clock management was not a priority there. Getting a touchdown to win the game was the priority, and they got one.

I’m impressed by Saquon Barkley sliding down at the 2-yard line on the final possession, allowing the Giants to just go into victory formation, kneel and let the clock run out. The Giants thought that out, planned it, and executed it.

David Kanter asks: Seems there was some buzz at the beginning of the year on Micah McFadden. I don’t see him in the snap counts. Any feedback on if he’s healthy, what his performance has been, and why he’s not playing?

Ed says: David, the reality is that McFadden has been bypassed on the linebacker depth chart by Jaylon Smith. Right now, Smith and Tae Crowder are better. The other reality is that the Giants are often removing a linebacker and playing with extra defensive backs. McFadden played just four snaps against the Green Bay Packers and did not play at all on defense against the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, I wouldn’t get all alarmed by that. The kid is a rookie fifth-round pick. He isn’t quite ready for a bigger role. Go back to the Green Bay game. As soon as he came on the field, the Packers started targeting him. The Giants saw that and quickly got him out.

Dave Pakenham asks: Love the way the season has played out so far and very encouraged by Coach and the team buying into and believing in the program and the message. I also believe that the foundational pieces are in place moving forward and Andrew Thomas is definitely the cornerstone of the offensive line.

I read an article where Tony DelGenio anointed him “the undisputed greatest draft pick of the Gettleman era” (Dexter Lawrence is definitely taking his game to the next level and has my vote) and PFF has him rated as the highest rated offensive tackle so far. This is in no way meant to be negative or demean his accomplishments, but how much of this can be attributed to the defense not sending their best at him and instead attacking the weaker parts of the line? He is obviously the strength of the line so reason would dictate they would not send their strongest pass rushers against him.

Are there any statistics to show how he stacks up against the elite edge rushers and defenders?

Ed says: Dave, good defensive coordinators always look for the best matchups. Micah Parsons didn’t line up over Andrew Thomas very often when the Giants played the Dallas Cowboys. That made sense. Are you going to line him up over Thomas, or a struggling rookie on the other side?

I don’t know of a database that lists which rushers offensive tackles were matched up against. I know that Thomas has had to match up at times with Robert Quinn of the Bears, Brian Burns of the Panthers, Preston Smith of the Packers, Jason Pierre-Paul of the Ravens.

Thomas is really, really good. It’s going to be fun to watch Thomas and Evan Neal go up against Travon Walker and Josh Allen of Jacksonville on Sunday.

Gary Chase asks: During the Giants-Baltimore game I was thinking how Lamar Jackson will be a free agent and before the season there was talk about how he could be a fit with Big Blue. After the game I was thinking (i) I don’t know if the Giants would have won that game if Jackson was the Giants QB (thinking of the interception and fumble, mistakes Jones has been amazing at avoiding), and (ii) if I had a choice between breaking the bank for an elite QB like Jackson or sticking with Jones, I’d definitely prefer Jones.

Granted it is hard to imagine the result of a game where Jackson is QB for both teams, so you can have a pass on the first question. But at this point in the season, is it crazy to think that Jones is a better value based on what we’ve seen so far? I kind of think being 5-1 is making me crazy.

Ed says: Gary, Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones are not in the same stratosphere when it comes to talent. Yes, Jackson made a bad mistake against the Giants. He is also easily the most athletic quarterback in the league and a former MVP who is still in his prime years.

Sorry, I’m breaking the bank for the elite guy who I think I can win a Super Bowl with.