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GM Joe Schoen: 'This is the year' for Daniel Jones to show if he is Giants' guy for next decade

The premiere episode of Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants started with a look into the Giants' biggest offseason decisions: the fates of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.

Their futures in New York turned out to have more to do with one another than it might have appeared.

In short, when the Giants decided that Jones needed one more shot to prove he could earn his massive extension following an injury-plagued season, it closed the door on Barkley's return to New York.

"You're paying the guy (Jones) $40 million," Giants general manager Joe Schoen said. "It's not to hand the ball off to a $12 million back."

Well, when you put it that way...

Jones takes up roughly 20 percent of the Giants' salary cap for 2024. That made the decision not to place the franchise tag on Barkley at $12 million per year a pretty easy one. And when Giants director of player personnel Tim McDonnell asks rhetorically what the team's identity will be on on offense if it lost Saquon, Schoen made clear that the Giants felt they had too many other issues to overspend on Barkley at a lower-priority position.

"My plan is [to] address the offensive line at some point here in free agency," Schoen said. "We're sitting at [No.] 6, there's a chance there's an offensive weapon there.

"This is the year for Daniel. Plan all along was [to] give him a couple years. Is he our guy for the next 10 years? Or do we need to pivot and find somebody else?"

That's the reality the Giants are facing this season. Jones is coming off a neck injury and a torn ACL entering a critical Year 6 with the franchise. The addition of first-round wide receiver Malik Nabers could help immensely, but the offensive line must improve immensely from last year's performance or Jones might never have a shot.

"The reality is -- facts -- [that Jones has had] three serious injuries in two years," Schoen said. "We need to protect ourselves. He didn't have much of a chance this year. That's legit. Like your offseason, your core guys that were gonna play together played less than 60 snaps together. Miami, we got f------ three practice squad guys playing for us.

"You could have Pat Mahomes, and he can't f------ win behind that. I'm not giving up on (Jones). He's under contract for three more years. Just protecting ourselves, because [the] best predictor of the future is the past."

Schoen clearly is banking on the future looking a little better in this case, and it helped explain his rationale of letting Barkley walk this offseason.

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