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Giants say Saquon Barkley, Dexter Lawrence situations won’t impact locker room

Head coach Brian Daboll downplays absences from start of voluntary offseason program

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants took issue on Monday with the idea that the unresolved contract situations involving star players Saquon Barkley and Dexter Lawrence will have an adverse impact on their locker room. Neither player was in attendance as the Giants began Phase 1 of their voluntary offseason program.

“We’ve got great guys in the locker room and mature guys who understand that side of playing in the NFL, understand the business side of it,” said quarterback Daniel Jones, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason. “I don’t think that’s a concern within our team.”

Safety Xavier McKinney agreed.

“I don’t think it’s an issue,” McKinney said. “They’re dealing with their own things, that’s for them to work out. We know what type of guys they are. We know what type of players that they are. We all love ‘em.

“We all kinda know what it is.”

What it is for Barkley is being unhappy with having the Giants use the franchise tag, worth $10.091 million, on him for the 2023 season rather than giving him a long-term deal that would make him one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL.

Barkley reportedly turned down a deal that would have paid him around $12.5 million last season. GM Joe Schoen said recently there is no contract offer currently on the table.

What it is for Lawrence, currently set to play on his $12.407 million fifth-year option, is trying to reach a long-term deal that would keep him with the Giants beyond the 2023 season.

“Those are business situations and those guys have to go about them how they see fit,” Jones said. “I certainly respect that, I think we all do, knowing those two guys. They’re team-first guys, they’re great teammates to everybody and everybody in our locker room has a tremendous amount of respect for both of them.”

Head coach Brian Daboll repeatedly downplayed any significance that could be attached to the absences of Barkley and Lawrence by repeatedly pointing to the calendar.

“It’s April 17th,” Daboll said. “This is the NFL. There’s a lot of things on the business side that go along ... lot of respect for those guys. It’s April 17th here. We’ve got a long way until we get going.”

Daboll added that he has talked to both players and that those conversations will remain private.

Jones said he will support Barkley.

“Obviously he’s a good friend of mine, good teammate,” Jones said. “I’m hoping for the best for him. There’s a business side to all this, he’s a great teammate, great friend, everyone in the building knows that. I’ll support him through it all.”