Back race Saquon Barkley and quarterbacks Daniel Jones have given the Giants front office a lot to think about over the contract years. Jones was drafted a year after Barkley in the first round, but with New York declining his fifth-year option, Jones will join Barkley in free agency this offseason.
Barkley was pretty direct about his intentions. “I wanted to show them that the guy they drafted is still here.” he has told reportersaccording to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. “Everyone knows I’d like to be a giant for life, but I really can’t give 100 percent answers.”
Barkley certainly proved what he wanted to show. This year Barkley had his best season since winning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 and earning his second career Pro Bowl bid. This was a much-needed big year for the 25-year-old from Penn State. He showed he could stay healthy for an entire season, having missed multiple games in each of the three years following his rookie campaign. In the process, Barkley also proved that his early career was no accident. Just like in 2018, Barkley broke 1,300 rushing yards and hit double-digit touchdown numbers.
When Barkley was asked what he was looking for in a new contract, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan quoted him as saying, “I don’t worry too much about resetting the [running back] Market. I’m realistic.”
It’s reasonable for Barkley to consider his injury history when considering how his new deal will rank for the all-time position. The silver lining of the situation is that while his contract may not hit all-time highs, he should get one of the richer contracts for a running back this offseason. Except Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, Barkley had perhaps the most impressive contract year of any running back. Not only that, but an impressive field of free agent running backs should push the price up for top-end prospects at the position like Barkley and Jacobs.
Jones, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as far along with his intentions until recently. When asked to comment on reports that he and the Giants are close to an extension, Jones responded that he “didn’t think there was much truth to the report,” according to NY Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. After a much-discussed non-response last night, Dunleavy went on to report that Jones also clarified the situation He says he loves the Giants and would rather stay in New York as long as the “business side” works out.
On the business side, Jones also gave New York a bit to think about. Like Barkley, Jones had his best season since his rookie campaign in 2019. Jones has always been pretty good at protecting the ball but reached a new level this year when he led the NFL in interceptions per try.
Jones might not be asking for prime money as a free-agent quarterback, but leading the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 should help add a bit to his value. The biggest free-agent quarterbacks this offseason will be obvious Lamar Jackson and Tom Bradybut after them, Jones will compete with the likes for value Geno Smith, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppoloand other.
For what it’s worth, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano claims so There is little doubt that Jones and Barkley will be returning to New York next season. The only question depends on the details of how. Can both Jones and Barkley strike new deals with the team that designed them? Will any of them receive richer offers from other teams? Will the two not be able to strike any new deals at all and play under the franchise tag in 2023?
Both have announced their desire to remain with the Giants. Now it depends on the general manager Joe Nice and company in the front office to find out how to keep them blue.