The New York Giants missed the playoffs yet again this season, the eighth occurrence over the last nine years. With that said, the higher-ups believe they have the right building blocks in place to continue to develop into a future NFC East force.
Yes, changes will ultimately come to the roster, as is much-needed. However, it looks as though most key figures will remain in New York rather than skip town.
On Tuesday, the team announced that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be staying put, re-upping on a contract extension. On Wednesday, team CEO and co-owner John Mara held his year-end press conference, in which he formally announced that Dave Gettleman would be retained as general manager. He also showered first-year head coach Joe Judge with praise and shed optimism on second-year quarterback Daniel Jones.
So how will the 6-10 Giants look to improve next season with so many stagnant pieces? Well, the return of one of the league’s most lethal offensive weapons certainly shouldn’t hurt.
ALL the latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Mara Expects Barkley Back…Long-Term
A “Gut punch.” That’s how Mara described the loss of Saquon Barkley to reporters on Wednesday. Barkley, who suffered a torn ACL in the second week of the season, has missed extended playing time in each of the last two seasons. With a contract decision looming on the former No. 2 overall pick, many have speculated how the Giants will proceed with the otherworldly talented, yet hobbled running back.
Mara put any worries of the team moving off of Barkley to rest towards the end of his press conference, via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.
Barkley becomes eligible for a new contract this offseason, and while his injury concerns have led to questions revolving around his longevity in a Giants uniform, it’s become apparent from Mara’s words that the team envisions their future with their star running back in it.
This also likely means that a contract extension is soon on the horizon.
Notable RB Deals Done Last Offseason
Here are three players, the top two of which offer a similar dual-threat skillset to Barkley, who were recently handed new deals and are likely guidelines for Barkley’s next contract.
– Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
- Contract: 4 years, $64 million ($38.1 million guaranteed)
- Age at Signing: 24-years-old
– Alvin Kamara, Saints
- Contract: 5 years, $75 million ($33.8 million guaranteed)
- Age at Signing: 25-years-old
– Derrick Henry, Titans
- Contract: 4 years, $50 million ($25.5 million guaranteed)
- Age at Signing: 26-years-old
Follow the Heavy on Giants Facebook page for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!
The Risk of Re-Upping Barkley
The idea of committing to a running back long-term certainly gives reason to pause. You don’t have to look much further than former Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley. A dominant force during his days in Los Angeles, the Rams rewarded their star with a $60 million ($45M guaranteed) contract in July of 2018. Then, knee injuries began to hit and by March of 2019, he was kicked to the curb.
Fast forward to current day, and Gurley has just completed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons. By the tail end of the year, he was operating behind the unheralded duo of Ito Smith and Brian Hill. Gurley will once again re-enter free agency this offseason with his career very much in limbo at just 26-years-old.
The good news for Barkley is that he doesn’t fall in the same camp as Gurley, as the latter’s knee issues are believed to be degenerative. Although, neither are Ezekiel Elliott, who likely has the Cowboys feeling a certain type of way for backing up the Brink’s truck for him after his disappointing 2020 campaign.
The Argument for Re-Upping Barkley
Despite the concerns, Barkley is deserving of remaining in New York and serving as the centerpiece of the Giants’ offense. He’s a locker room leader and a blue-chip talent.
If you revisit the three names listed above, yes McCaffrey missed most of the season with injuries, yet we doubt many in the Panthers organization are regretting that deal just yet. As for the other two names, Alvin Kamara finished the season ranked third in the NFL with 1,732 all-purpose yards and first amongst skill players with 126 points scored. Derrick Henry, on the other hand, all he did was become one of just eight players in NFL history to break the 2,000-yard rushing mark in a single-season.
Barkley, still just 23-years-old, aligns with the McCaffreys, the Kamaras and the Henrys of the world when it comes to sheer talent and game-changing abilities. This is why Mara and the Giants are so adamant about keeping him in New York.
- Giants Make Final Decision on GM Dave Gettleman: Report
- Giants HC Joe Judge Obliterates Eagles in Epic ‘Disrespect’ Rant
- Giants’ Logan Ryan Dishes on Tanking Eagles
- Ex-Giants 1st-Rounder Suffers Gruesome Non-Contact Injury [VIDEO]