Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones express desire to return to Giants with free agency looming

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hands the ball off to running back Saquon Barkley.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hands the ball off to running back Saquon Barkley. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Giants season has officially come to a close following Saturday’s Divisional Round loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, all eyes turn to free-agents-to-be Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones.

Barkley and Jones, two pillars of the Giants offense that helped lead the team to not only a playoff appearance, but an impressive road win over the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round, spoke with reporters on Sunday as the Giants cleaned out their locker room.

Both players expressed their desire to return to the team, but also shared that they understand there’s a business side to the NFL.

“I couldn’t imagine that being the last time being in a Giants uniform, but that’s just the nature of the business. I can’t control any of that,” said Barkley. “It comes with it. I’ve been vocal [about] how I feel, and I’m excited for the future, no matter what happens.”

"He added: "[Playoff football] was fun. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. I always wanted to play in the playoffs, compete in the playoffs, and compete for a championship. Obviously the first couple of years here it didn’t happen. I believe that we’ll get to the spot at some point and I want to be part of it. I’ve been vocal about that, and we were able to accomplish [making the playoffs] this year. Whatever the future holds."

Barkley will officially become a free agent on March 15 at 1:00 p.m., the date when the new league year begins. Of course, the Giants could sign Barkley before then, and Barkley noted that he and the team tried to get a deal done during the bye week, though nothing came to fruition.

The former No. 2 overall pick is sure to garner a lucrative contract, but the Penn State product isn’t concerned with resetting the running back market with a new contract.

“I’m not really too concerned about resetting markets or things like that. I’m realistic,” Barkley said. “I know what I was on pace to do, but having two years filled up with injuries and having a season of not performing to the level I know I can perform, doesn’t help. But I think I was able to show the type of caliber player that I am and the things I’m able to do on a football field. That’s something that I wanted to do, that was my goal this year and I was able to accomplish that. Now it’s just sit down with my agent Kim [Miale] and see what happens."

As for Jones, his 2022 season saw him go from a turnover prone quarterback with a 12-25 record to one of the most interesting names about to hit the free agent QB market. Jones completely turned things around, throwing only five interceptions and decreasing his fumble total to six, the lowest single-season mark of his career.

Featuring a dynamic mix of arm strength and mobility, Jones could end up netting a big-money deal, either with the Giants or elsewhere.

But the Duke product said on Sunday that he loves being a Giant.

“Right now, more than anything, I’m thinking about this year and this team and the guys and how grateful I am to be a part of it,” said Jones. “Special group of guys. I’ve really enjoyed being here. I have nothing but love and respect for this organization. I’d love to be back, but we’ll see. There’s a business side of it, too. I’m very grateful to be here and be a part of it.”