The only reason to watch the Giants — or justify putting them on national television — is Saquon Barkley. New York shopping him around is like getting rid of the last real tiger left in their depressing traveling circus. The only acts remaining would be a sad clown of a quarterback and the high-wire act that has been the Giants’ front office of late.
I understand the injury angle, but some G-Men fans are just lusting for a deal to be proven right. They still think New York should’ve never used the second pick in the draft on a running back. They’re not wrong, but he’s on the team. The only people who can change the past are the Avengers and Superman.
The only point in trading the face of the franchise for a fourth-round pick is spite.
Barkley never got going due to myriad factors a season ago. Trust me, I know he was hugely disappointing. I spent $50-plus on him in fantasy. Coming back from an ACL tear is hard as is, and it’s made even more difficult when you miss a large chunk of the season with a bad ankle sprain.
He still had highlight plays, though.
The wiggle and vision that make his burst so dangerous are still there, and he showed flashes of the explosiveness.
I don’t think his former self is gone, but like his former self, he’s not getting a lot of help.
When you factor in the horrible offensive line, the predictable/poor play-calling, and the QB play of Daniel Jones or Mike Glennon, you’re going to hate watching the Giants as much as their fans hated Dave Gettleman. They scored more than 25 points just three times last year, and their two highest-scoring outputs of the 2021 campaign, 27- and 29-point outings, came with Barkley on the field, according to Pro Football Reference.
The running game was in the bottom third of the league, and the passing game accounted for the second-lowest yardage total in the NFL. The O-line finished 30th in Pro Football Focus’ final offensive line rankings. Tackle Andrew Thomas was the lone bright spot, and he had his second surgery in as many years on a problematic left ankle, the USA Today reported. (He should be back in the offseason, but you never want to see recurring injuries to your best lineman.)
Also, as much as I enjoyed the highs of Kadarius Toney’s rookie season, Yung Joka is less likely to have awe-inspiring games because you can’t hand him the ball 20-plus times a game. They can spend endless funds and draft capital to give Jones the glitziest of Ferraris, but he can barely get the car out of second gear. The Giants haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. was shipped to Cleveland.
What should be addressed first — other than the sequence of events that led to Brian Flores suing the team — is the quarterback. Sticking with him for another year because you don’t like the draft class is fine, but at least provide him with the most realistic path to success.
Jones’ play style is more suited for a Saab or Volvo, something reliable with a high safety rating. Running the ball and playing defense is the only way you’re going to win with a subpar quarterback. The Giants have a guy who can do one of those things — and do it even better when he’s not juking defensive lineman in the backfield.
The last regime showed up and traded away a fan-favorite. History repeating itself would be cruel, and two franchise players embracing the Lombardi Trophy for different teams would be just that. (While we’re here, Beckham was fucking torching the Bengals in the Super Bowl until he got hurt. His career may be in jeopardy now, but it wasn’t when he left New York.)
If you want to trade a player who never should’ve been drafted so high in the first round, Jones is the one capping your roster with a Big Blue-hued ceiling, not Barkley. It’s also not a dumb idea to see how new GM Joe Schoen does in his first draft before allowing him to sell off the only draw on the team.
(Barkley also is literally the only fantasy player on the roster who deserves regular fake-game action. A telltale sign that your fantasy team sucks is how many Giants players you start. I will not be fooled by Evan Engram again.)
The Giants’ faithful who tune in, Bloody Mary in hand, every Sunday are going to keep tuning in because it’s in their nature. And as long as the Giants are one of the most popular teams in the NFL, the league will continue to put them on prime time.
If the team continues to operate and subsequently play like a bottom feeder, fans of the NFL and the Giants should at least be able to enjoy the closest thing New York has to a star.