With his own big payday secured, the next item on Daniel Jones’ wish list is for the Giants and Saquon Barkley to find their common ground.
Jones lined up in the shotgun formation Wednesday during the first media-attended OTA practice and fired passes to a new field-stretching tight end and a couple new shifty receivers.
But something big was missing from the offense, whether Jones was flanked by Matt Breida, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell or Jashaun Corbin.
Barkley, who led the Giants in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns last season and has been Jones’ security blank since the quarterback’s rookie season, was absent as he has been throughout the voluntary offseason program while involved in a tense negotiation for a contract extension.
Because he has not signed his franchise-tag offer, Barkley is not allowed in the team facility and will not be subject to fines if he also misses mandatory minicamp next month.
“Saquon has been a very important part of what we’ve done here and he’s a tremendous part of this offense,” Jones said. “I hope they can get something done.”
Jones negotiated a four-year, $160 million contract extension just before free agency. That deal simultaneously led to the tag (one-year, $10.1 million) for Barkley, who is seeking a multi-year deal. The Giants doubled down on their belief in Jones by acquiring Darren Waller, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt and others to improve a stagnant passing attack.
Barkley put business aside in April and joined offensive teammates in Arizona for Jones-arranged throwing sessions that are not governed by NFL rules.
“We had a good turnout – just about everybody made it out there. We spent some time on the field working out and introducing some stuff,” Jones said. “Saquon has been a great teammate to everybody in the locker room, and I think that says a lot about him as a guy.”
Jones said Barkley’s negotiation is “between him and the team,” following head coach Brian Daboll’s lead.
“There’s always a business side of things in this league and those conversations will remain private,” Daboll said, “but … everybody goes through it at some point and you just build on relationships.”