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The New York Giants “messed up” in their handling of the Saquon Barkley contract, former NFL player and current NFL analyst Ross Tucker told the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast on Monday.
“What I would argue is they were close enough that I think it would’ve made sense to get that deal done,” Tucker said. “Give him another million a year if that gets it done. Give him two more million guaranteed if that gets it done because the games are not played on paper, the locker room matters.
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Barkley, in Anderson’s view, should have realized this, taken the money and ran.
“I get where Barkley feels he’s at the point in his career where he wants that one big check, that one big contract, because everybody wants that, because you’re not sure you’re gonna get another one,’’ Anderson said. “Two years from now, he’ll be in his seventh year, and that’s when most teams let go of running backs. I wish him luck, but management is looking at it totally differently than how Barkley is looking at it. Management is saying you were great your rookie year, then you had two years or three years in between where you were injured and then you had a great year last year. So they’re looking at it out of five years you only had three good years.’’
Carl Banks offers his advice to Saquon Barkley
It’s fair to assume Barkley’s camp opened negotiations targeting Christian McCaffrey’s $16 million average annual value (AAV), which is the richest running back contract in the league. That explains why Giants general manager Joe Schoen said the sides weren’t close during their first talks during last season’s bye week.
Barkley said the Giants countered with comps to a pair of “downhill runners” who “really aren’t used in the pass-catching game.” Although Barkley declined to reveal the identities of the comps, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, stick out as premier running backs with minimal impact as receivers.
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When will Saquon Barkley report? Or if he’s willing to channel Le’Veon Bell and sit out the entire season to protest the tag. Until Barkley shows, his absence will hover over the Giants, who are trying to build on the good vibes from last season’s surprising playoff appearance.
First team center John Michael Schmitz was one of the few plug-and-play centers in the 2023 class — you’ll get that label after stellar play across nearly 2,500 collegiate snaps — and the Giants waited patiently for him in the second round to be their starting pivot in 2023. He’s ready.
First round pick Deonte Banks is projected as second team boundary cornerback with adhesive-like coverage skills who’ll play for a press-man enthusiast in Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. His explosion profile — 4.35 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical, 11-foot-4 inch broad — will make him nearly impossible to beat over the top.
One more sleep
Flott, 21, spent his first NFL offseason training around the country with fellow former LSU stars Derek Stingley Jr., Kelvin Joseph and Patrick Queen. He is noticeably bulked up — which could help him stay on the field when the defense calls for a bigger slot to stop the run — to attack one specific skill.
“Mostly my tackling — and that just comes with body composition and gaining a little extra,” Flott said of his offseason focus. “With my quickness and my length, there aren’t too many 6-foot-2 people that move like a shifty guy, so I take pride in that and I’m ready to play it.”
USA Today's Nate Davis has the Giants finishing with a 6-11 record and finishing last in the NFC East.
Despite a feel-good 2022 – when this decidedly average team did enough to qualify for a wild-card berth and win a playoff game before getting thoroughly embarrassed by the Eagles in the divisional round – it was hard to get too enthused about Big Blue with such a daunting schedule ahead, including 2022 playoff teams in five of the first six weeks. Then the good feels were further diluted by the failure to reach a contractual commitment to franchised RB Saquon Barkley, who very much appears to be the offense’s linchpin after accounting for nearly 30% of its yardage last season. Seems another team may have to carry the Big Apple's hopes in 2023.
The biggest reason for optimism, though, is that after missing the postseason for five straight years—and last winning a playoff game in 2011—the Giants advanced to the divisional round. It was a quick fortune reversal under coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. They paved an immediate path to the playoffs, and fans should have confidence in the front office’s ability to improve in Year 2.
How much better can QB Daniel Jones and the Giants be in Year 2 under coach Brian Daboll? Jones made a massive leap last year in his first season working with coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. His improvement earned him a $160 million contract this offseason. The Giants surprised just about everyone by making the playoffs and winning a postseason game. Now, it's a matter of whether they can take it to another level in Year 2 under Daboll. New York has an improved roster and group of playmakers. That should help.
C John Michael Schmitz: Buy
Fans should expect Schmitz to be an early rookie standout who helps bolster New York's offensive line between emerging bookend tackles Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas. A powerful run blocker, Schmitz could become a huge asset for a running game that may have to rely on the likes of James Robinson and Matt Breida early if Barkley's holdout continues into the regular season.
The 2022 Giants ranked dead last in the NFL in pass plays of 20-plus yards with 28, and those limitations showed up late in the season a few times despite Big Blue turning the corner as a team. There are plenty of options at receiver, where 2022 breakout Isaiah Hodgins, 2023 third-rounder Jalin Hyatt and 2022 second-rounder Wan'Dale Robinson (coming off a torn ACL) have real promise. TE Darren Waller also figures to play a big role after coming over via trade. But it's clear someone needs to step up here; after all, Barkley led this team in targets a year ago.
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Isaiah Hodgins looks like the best game in town. He brought in 33 receptions for 351 yards and four scores in just eight games with the Giants last season. Extrapolate that to 17 games and it's a 70-746-8.5 receiving line. For a former sixth-round pick who was waived in the middle of last season after mostly being on the practice squad prior to that, it would be a heck of a come-up.
On paper, it's a much faster receiving corps than the Giants had last season, and it sure looks like a step up from the scrap-heap group surrounding Jones last year. Waller could be Travis Kelce-like if he stays healthy. Campbell and Hyatt are definite upgrades that should help Darius Slayton become something more than a low-grade, reliable option.
There's also the potential for other help. Shepard and last year's second-round pick, Wan'Dale Robinson, could be interesting pieces if they can successfully make it back from their injuries. They also still have Isaiah Hodgins and maybe Jamison Crowder has something left in his tank too.
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