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Mar 25, 2024 7:21 pm

Giants GM on Saquon Barkley departure: ‘Can’t keep them all’

saquon barkley, cowboys

The New York Giants suffered one of the marquee departures in free agency when running back Saquon Barkley signed a $37.75 million deal with NFC East rival Philadelphia two weeks ago.

General manager Jim Schoen has been busy tweaking the Giants’ roster since, and he had a pragmatic answer when asked about Barkley’s departure at the NFL owners meetings on Monday.

“I wish Saquon nothing but the best,” Schoen told reporters. “You can’t keep them all. He did a lot for the franchise. Walter Payton Man of the Year, a lot of production. I enjoyed working with him for two years and everything he did for (coach Brian Daboll) and I in that playoff run (in 2022). I wish him nothing but the best.”

Barkley, 27, rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns in 14 starts last season, just shy of his fourth 1,000-yard season. He has been replaced, at least for the time being, by former Texans and Bills running back Devin Singletary, who leads a backfield depth chart that also includes Gary Brightwell and Eric Gray.

Schoen also signed guards Aaron Stinnie from Tampa Bay and Jon Runyan from Green Bay, tackle Jermaine Eluemunor from Las Vegas and backup center Austin Schlottmann from Minnesota in an effort to bolster a group that allowed a league-high 85 sacks last season.

The offensive line was the primary focus of free agency for Schoen, who also made a big splash with the trade and signing of pass rusher Brian Burns.

The Giants also hold the No. 6 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft and own three of the top 70 picks overall. Schoen predictably played his cards close to his vest when asked about how he is approaching the draft.

“We’ll look at all options, whether it’s going up, back, staying,” he said. “Ultimately, I think we’ll end up with a good player.”

Whether that is one of the several highly-touted quarterbacks in this class remains to be seen. Schoen said Daniel Jones is “on the right track” in his return from injury, while Drew Lock was signed to compete for the backup job along with Tommy DeVito.

This is seen as a critical year for Schoen and Daboll, who made waves two years ago with the Giants making the playoffs only to plummet to 6-11 last season.

“It takes time, as much as you want instant gratification, and nobody wants that more than me,” Schoen said. “I think you have to believe in the principles and in terms of how to build the team, and we’re going on our third draft. It takes time.

“When I look back at the 2021 roster and where we are now, I just think we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ll continue to head in the right direction in terms of bringing in our type of players and what we’re looking for schematically, what Dabs is looking at for his offense, and we’ll keep making progress.”

–Field Level Media

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