Giants hoping to 'bridge the gap' with Saquon Barkley in contract negotiations
Giants GM Joe Schoen answered questions Tuesday about what's on everyone's mind: Where do things stand with star running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones?
"We've had productive conversations with both of their representatives, Saquon going all the way back to November and we'll continue to do so," Schoen said at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "But there's not priority on one or the other."
The Giants and Barkley had discussed a contract extension during the team's bye week in November, but Schoen said at the end of the season in January that the two sides "weren't really that close." The second-year GM said Tuesday that they are "a little bit closer" on coming to an agreement, but they still have to "bridge the gap" in the negotiations.
"Yeah, no, we haven't totally bridged, we're a little bit closer. There's still a gap or we'd have him done," Schoen said. "We'll still work through that. We're working with Roc Nation and Kim [Miale], his agent. Have a great relationship with her and I have had for a long time. So we've had really good communication and she does a great job. We'll see if we can bridge the gap at some point."
Schoen was asked what role Barkley's injury history has when it comes to working out a new contract, and if his impact off of the field plays into that decision. He made it clear that the team has to stand its ground in negotiations and switch gears if they can't agree on an extension.
"I think in the negotiations you take all that into account or you wouldn't approach the player on a contract extension," Schoen said. "Walter Payton Man of the Year, I love that about him. But you also got to look at production, durability, games played production versus other comps throughout the league, and that's where they usually land from a financial standpoint.
"You got to draw a line in the sand, like we're not going any further, and if it goes past this, let's shift to Plan B. Again, hopefully we don't get to that, but we've went through all those plans."
While Giants fans want nothing more than to lock up both young stars for the foreseeable future, Schoen is "cautiously optimistic" that they can get both deals done.
"I mean you have to go through hard times before you come out the other end, better times with negotiations. We're trying to work through it," Schoen said. "Obviously we'd like to have them both back, they know how we feel about both of them. We're still working through it."
Schoen added: "They work well with each other. Their entire careers in the NFL, they've been together. I do think they complement each other well. We've had productive conversations with both of their representatives and the goal is to hopefully get something done."