PALM BEACH, Fla. — The New York Giants haven’t made any calls to other teams about trading running back Saquon Barkley, even if they have received some.
General manager Joe Schoen emphasized the distinction Monday at the NFL’s annual meetings, the first time he’s talked publicly since the scouting combine, when he declared the team open to a potential trade. The Giants at that time were trying to shed some $40 million in salary-cap space to get their financials in order for this season.
“That was taken a little bit out of context at the combine. I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley,” Schoen said Monday about the idea the Giants were shopping the running back. “Everybody ran with that from the combine. I said I would listen if people called on any players. It would be irresponsible if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do every deal. So I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley.
“I’ve got calls about a few of our players. He’s one where a couple teams have reached out. But I’m not shopping Saquon Barkley.”
Barkley was the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL draft out of Penn State. He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year after compiling over 2,000 total yards in his debut season.
Since then it has been a struggle. Barkley dealt with a high ankle sprain in 2019, tore the ACL in his right knee the following the year and was hampered by an ankle injury this past season. He’s compiled 2,391 total yards in the three years since his breakout rookie season.
But the Giants appear likely to hang on to Barkley despite still being up against the salary cap. Cornerback James Bradberry appears more likely to be moved to create the necessary space, even though Schoen noted he recently made the Pro Bowl, is 28 years old 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 anybody,” Schoen said. “People have called about certain players. People have value. … [Bradberry is] still a high-caliber starting corner.”
Barkley is due a guaranteed $7.217 million this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.
“Again, the guy was the No. 2 pick in the draft 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 that was spreading following Schoen’s comments at the combine. It was to the point that he felt the need to reach out to Barkley almost immediately.
Schoen called Barkley to clarify the team’s intentions right after completing his media responsibilities in Indianapolis.
“I reached out to him immediately after all that happened,” Schoen said. “Again, it would be irresponsible for the team if a team calls — I think 31 other GMs would say the same thing — if somebody is going to call and offer you something ridiculous, you’re going to listen. It doesn’t mean you’re going to make a deal or say yes to it.”
Barkley, 25, is the Giants’ biggest and most recognizable name on the roster. He’s also one of their more accomplished and talented players.
This isn’t lost on the organization, but isn’t going to factor in the organization’s decision to trade him.
“I’m certainly conscious of that,” co-owner John Mara said. “I don’t think it’s not a major factor. At the end of the day, put the best possible team on the field and build for the future.
“So, listen, I like 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 very big year this year. But at the end of the day, the head coach and general manager make those decisions.”