Saquon Barkley Gives Giants Some Xavier McKinney Advice

Xavier McKinney and Saquon Barkley

Getty Saquon Barkley gave the New York Giants some advice about safety Xavier McKinney ahead of free agency.

He may not be sure about his own future with the New York Giants, but Saquon Barkley knows what should happen with Xavier McKinney. The two-time Pro Bowl running back wants to see the safety get paid.

Barkley told reporters “pay that man his money. I don’t know. I can’t speak, but maybe the Giants or whoever. He’s a heck of player, he’s a heck of a leader,” per Giants Videos.

McKinney earned the praise by snatching two interceptions during Week 18’s 27-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Like Barkley, the defensive back is among the Giants’ pending free agents, but McKinney doesn’t sound keen on Big Blue using the franchise tag, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post:

While McKinney knows what he does and doesn’t want, Barkley is less certain about what the future holds.

Xavier McKinney Made Strong Case for Next Contract

McKinney produced an excellent audition for free agency. The 24-year-old got his night started in style by making this leaping pick in front of Eagles’ wide receiver Julio Jones.

This turnover showcased the range the Giants want from the centerfielder in their defense. That’s the demanding role McKinney plays in the pressure-heavy schemes called by defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale.

McKinney is often isolated in single-high coverages, but he’s responded to the challenge. No. 29 had broken up eight passes and allowed 40 completions from 60 targets before the visit of the Eagles.

He added six more tackles and three pass breakups against Philadelphia, per ESPN. McKinney also showed off his ability to be a playmaker closer to the line of scrimmage by snagging this INT, highlighted by Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson.

McKinney’s earned his payday, and the Giants can afford to deliver. The franchise is projected by to have $37,078,788 worth of space under the salary cap.

Rewarding McKinney seems like an obvious choice, but the Giants might think otherwise for a few reasons.

The most notable concerns the veteran’s critical comments of coaches, including Martindale, earlier in the season. Head coach Brian Daboll played down McKinney’s public outburst, but the words may still have left some ill feeling among the staff.

It’ll also be easier to move on after Jason Pinnock and Dane Belton both emerged as credible safeties this season. There’s also the not-so small matter of the Giants needing to work out what comes next for Barkley.

Saquon Barkley’s Unsure About Future With the Giants

Barkley is still the engine in the offense, but he doesn’t know how long he’ll get to keep that role. The 26-year-old rushed for two touchdowns against the Eagles, but Barkley wouldn’t be drawn on his thoughts about those possibly being his last scores in a Giants uniform.

Instead, Barkley simply said, “If it is, it was a fun six years. Made a lot of great memories, but it’s not like the last time I’m ever playing football.”

Those final words make it sound as if Barkley is content to ply his trade elsewhere next season. Perhaps he hasn’t forgotten the Giants didn’t deem him worthy of a long-term deal last season, choosing to pay quarterback Daniel Jones instead.

It’s difficult to envisage the Giants’ thinking about Barkley has changed a year later. Particularly with the future of a key player like McKinney also on the agenda for this offseason.

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