PALM BEACH, Fla. — The New York Giants didn’t call any other teams to trade running back Saquon Barkley, even though they did receive one.
General manager Joe Schoen underscored the distinction Monday at the NFL’s annual meetings, the first time he’s spoken publicly since scouting, when he said the team is open to a potential trade. -Cap space to put their finances in order for this season.
“It was taken out of context a bit on the combine. I didn’t call any team on Saquon Barkley,” Schoen said Monday of the idea of the Giants buying the running back. I said I would listen if people called players. It would be irresponsible if I didn’t. This does not mean that I will do all the transactions. So I didn’t call a single team on Saquon Barkley.
“I’ve had calls about a few of our players. He’s one that a few teams have contacted. But I’m not buying Saquon Barkley.”
Barkley was the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year after racking up more than 2,000 total yards in his first season.
Since then it has been a struggle. Barkley dealt with a high ankle sprain in 2019, tore an ACL in his right knee the following year and was hampered by an ankle injury last season. He’s compiled 2,391 total yards in the three years since. his breakout rookie season.
But the Giants look likely to hang on to Barkley despite still facing the salary cap. Cornerback James Bradberry looks more likely to be moved to create the space needed, although Schoen noted that he recently made the Pro Bowl, is 28 and “can still play at a high level.”
That doesn’t mean Bradberry or Barkley won’t be traded.
“I’m not going to say that [about Bradberry]. I’m not going to say that about anyone,” Schoen said. “People have been calling about certain players. People have value. … [Bradberry is] another high caliber starting corner.”
Barkley is to be guaranteed $7.217 million this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.
“Again, the guy was the No. 2 draft pick for a reason,” Schoen said. “He’s got a lot of talent and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
The Giants were aware of the narrative spreading following Schoen’s comments at the combine, to the point that he felt the need to reach out to Barkley almost immediately.
Schoen called Barkley to clarify the team’s intentions just after completing his media responsibilities in Indianapolis.
“I contacted him immediately after everything happened,” Schoen said. “Again, it would be irresponsible for the team if a team called – I think 31 other GMs would say the same – if someone was going to call and offer you something ridiculous, you’re going to listen. That doesn’t mean not say you’re going to make a deal or say yes.
Barkley, 25, is the Giants’ most prominent and recognizable name on the roster, he is also one of their most accomplished and talented players.
It’s not lost on the organization, but it’s not going to take into account the organization’s decision to trade it.
“I certainly realize that,” co-owner John Mara said.
“So listen, I love him. He’s been a great representative for us. I still think he’s a really good player. I think he could potentially have a really great year this year. But at the end of the account, the head coach and the general manager make those decisions.”