Joe Schoen: Giants to explore contract extensions with Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley during bye week

Saquon Barkley Daniel Jones close hug vs Jaguars
Saquon Barkley Daniel Jones close hug vs Jaguars

Tuesday was a big day around the NFL with the 4 p.m. trade deadline seeing some big-name players on the move. The 6-2 Giants decided to stay pat, and while the deadline to make a trade may have come and gone, the team has another deadline looming that could pay even bigger dividends for the future of the franchise.

General manager Joe Schoen met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the team’s trade deadline approach, saying that the team was very active working the phones despite nothing coming to fruition. But he was also asked about the team possibly trying to extend key players like Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, and he explained that the team’s current bye week would be the time for the team to try to extend any of their players, not just the starting backfield of Jones and Barkley.

“We’ll have those meetings this week,” Schoen said. “We had to get through the trade deadline today and those conversations, and we’ll kind of circle up with some strategy meetings as we move forward on contract extensions and if we may or may not [extend] anybody.

"If I did, this would be the week I would want to entertain it, during the bye week, and then I probably wouldn’t do anything after that. I don’t want anything to be a distraction to the players or the organization, so if we do something it would probably be before Monday with any of our guys, I’m not just saying him, but when we have those conversations.”

Schoen added: “There’s nine games left so it’s an ongoing evaluation for everybody on the roster, not just Saquon and Daniel being UFAs. Obviously those are two important players to where we are right now, but yeah it’s a constant evaluation and we still have nine games left.”

Jones and Barkley are undoubtedly the headliners on the list of upcoming Giants unrestricted free agents, but the list also includes WR Sterling Shepard, edge rusher Oshane Ximines, S Julian Love, and others.

“There are guys we want to talk about. I mean, you can look at our UFAs and some of the guys that we could potentially extend,” Schoen said. “Yeah, we’re going to have those conversations, but you’re also balancing we’re eight games, there’s nine to go and certain players maybe you want to play it out and see if you can up your value or take guarantees now. There’s a lot that goes into it.”

Jones has had a solid season for the Giants after the team declined to pick up his fifth-year option prior to the start of it. His numbers may not be spectacular (1,399 passing yards, nine total touchdowns to just two interceptions, 174.9 passing yards per game), but he’s come up clutch when the Giants have needed him to, which Schoen and the front office certainly take into account when it comes to placing a value on him.

“I think Daniel’s done a good job,” said the Giants GM. “I always look at 'gotta have it moments,' third downs, fourth quarters when you’ve got to have it and I think he’s answered the bell in a lot of those situations and he’s the same guy that he was the day he got here … he’s a gym rat, he’s always around, and I think he’s done a good job of leading the team this year.”

As for Barkley, the Penn State product has had a resurgent season, rushing for 779 yards and five touchdowns and adding another 189 yards as a receiver. Barkley has certainly been the focal point of the Giants offense this season, and Schoen said on Tuesday that he’s happy with where the fifth-year running back currently stands.

“Saquon’s a great kid, he’s tough, he’s obviously talented. It’s a team game,” Schoen said. “I think him being healthy this year, you’ve seen who he is and what he can do, whether it’s catching the ball or running the ball. Credit to the offensive line and the receivers blocking for him, and he’s taken advantage of those opportunities with his God-given gifts too and helped us a lot. So I’m pleased with where Saquon is.”