3 Contracts Giants Must Prioritize in 2023 Offseason
The two biggest pieces in the New York Giants offense are set to become free agents this offseason.
Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley will be on the open market. The Giants need to do everything in their power to keep both players around for the 2023 season and beyond.
Jones displayed development in Brian Daboll's first season as head coach. He could still improve with more time spent with the coach who helped Josh Allen turn into a top-tier NFL quarterback.
Barkley will be tougher to keep in New York because he will be one of the most coveted free agents.
At his best, Barkley is one of the top running backs in the NFL and he deserves a large payday because this may the only time he can cash in on a big contract.
Jones and Barkley will be the primary focuses of free agency, but the Giants should also look to bring back role player Darius Slayton to have a strong offensive unit to contend for the NFC East crown in 2023.
Daniel Jones displayed significant improvement across the board in 2022.
Jones went from being on the chopping block as a starting quarterback to a reliable signal-caller that will be welcomed back with open arms.
The Giants know what they have in Jones, and if they surround him with the right players, he could elevate the franchise to a divisional title.
Jones is not in the top echelon of NFL quarterbacks, but he is a far better option than some of the other starters who participated in the 2022 season.
New York should try to keep Jones, whether it be through the franchise tag or a long-term deal, to allow him to work with Brian Daboll for at least another season.
The franchise tag may be the wisest decision New York can make because it delays the decision on whether to give Jones a long-term deal by another year.
The quarterback franchise tag will be $32.45 million, so the Giants would still be investing a large amount of money in Jones for 2023.
But that could be viewed as a better option than just giving him a long-term deal that is a hindrance to the salary cap based off one year of improvement.
A second year of improved play under Daboll may persuade the Giants to get work done on a larger deal next offseason.
Saquon Barkley has been the most valuable player inside the Giants offense when he has been healthy over the last five years.
Barkley turned in his third 1,000-yard rushing season in 2022. He was one touchdown shy of matching his career-best mark set in his rookie season.
The 25-year-old produced terrific numbers in a contract year, which will benefit his situation.
Barkley should have a handful of suitors lining up to sign him, and the Giants will have to be aggressive in the free-agent market to make sure he stays with the franchise.
New York's ownership has to feel confident with shelling out a large sum for a running back, which is a risky investment in the NFL given the shelf life of players at the position.
Barkley does have a recent history of injuries. He played just two games in 2020 and missed three games in both 2019 and 2021.
The results when available should outweigh any health concerns, and the Giants saw firsthand what he looks like at 100 percent inside Daboll's system in 2022.
Keeping Barkley would allow the Giants to build an offensive foundation with him and Jones that could be around for multiple years and chase after playoff glory in the NFC.
Darius Slayton proved his value to the Giants in 2022, as he emerged as a top target for Jones from a wide receiver room that lacked consistency and top-tier talent.
New York screwed up in free agency with the Kenny Golladay contract, so that may make the franchise hesitant to go after another top-tier wideout in free agency.
Slayton will not command a ton of money on the open market. He would be a wise choice to bring back as a secondary option to help Jones develop as a quarterback.
Slayton produced 700 receiving yards in three of his four seasons with the Giants. That is good enough to be a No. 2 or No. 3 target inside any offense.
He will not command the contracts that the top wide receivers will earn in free agency, and other teams may not value him as much as the Giants.
New York needs to keep some sort of consistency on offense, so bringing back Slayton and adding one or two rookies to the wide receiver room seems like the ideal situation to make the step up from wild-card team to NFC East winner.