The New York Giants surprised many last season by winning six of their first seven games and making the playoffs, where they upset the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round.
Now the challenge is to keep their core together while also adding to it.
They gave quarterback Daniel Jones and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence new contracts, and they used their franchise tag on star running back Saquon Barkley in the hopes of achieving a new deal for him.
According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, a deal with Barkley could actually lower their salary cap burden for 2023.
A deal with Saquon would likely lower his cap hit this year. It’s all about how a team wants to structure the contract. The Giants could’ve easily gotten Dexter Lawrence’s cap lower this year, if they wanted. https://t.co/bAuJaXkxlN
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) May 9, 2023
The Giants lacked prolific playmakers at wide receiver and tight end in 2022, which means that Barkley was their offense.
After a couple of injury-riddled seasons, he put up 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground, plus 338 receiving yards last season while earning his second trip to the Pro Bowl.
In an attempt to take some of the pressure off Barkley, the Giants have added tight end Darren Waller, a former Pro Bowler who spent the last five seasons with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.
He had over 1,100 receiving yards in both 2019 and 2020, and New York is hoping he will return to form after two down seasons.
Another key to the team making the playoffs again will be Jones’ development as a passing threat — last season he improved his efficiency a bit, completing 67.2 percent of his passes, but he threw for just 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Make no mistake: Barkley is the Giants’ biggest key to success.NEXT: Analyst Details A Surprising Stat About Daniel Jones