Could Barkley And Lawrence Situations Ignite Giant Issues?

Dexter Lawrence (97) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford.


This has been a relatively quiet Giants’ offseason. That is, in comparison to the Jets’ 


Yet, there is a sense of confidence in the air.


In other words, there is stability. This is the kind of situation the Giants have been seeking. They found it last year with GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. 


A return to the playoffs last season solidified their cause. They will begin to be reinforced with their voluntary offseason workouts that will begin Monday.


Stability means building blocks for a foundation. The Giants are putting them in place. Still, there is a dark cloud that can begin to be seen within the distance.


So far, they have signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a four-year deal, and they have had him the keys.


The Giants also brought aboard middle linebacker Bobby Okereke (Colts), safety Bobby McClain (Commanders), receiver Jamison Crowder (Bills), and tight end Darren Waller (Raiders). They also resigned receivers Sterling Shepard, Isaiah Hodgins, and Darius Slayton along with linebackers Jihad Ward and Jarrad Davis.


Their signings truly reflected the blue-collar work ethic that this new regime has embraced.


However, there will be two obvious omissions from the team’s Monday workout – running back Saquon Barkley and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.


Barkley didn’t sign the team’s $10 million franchise tag and wants a new deal that is similar to Jones. Fortunately for the Giants, Barkley doesn’t want to walk out the door and take his game elsewhere.


He held workouts with Jones and other players, and has indicated that he wants to finish his career in the Meadowlands.


It was obvious that the Giants couldn’t offer both Jones and Barkley a big payday, and one would have the franchise tag placed on him. 


Barkley was the odd man out. Schoen and Daboll decided on Jones to lead the charge.


Such is also the case for Lawrence.


The No. 1 pick flourished in 2022 and found himself in a leadership role, named a team captain. Lawrence registered career-highs in tackles with 68, sacks (7.5), tackles for loss (7) and quarterback hits (28).


Schoen took the initiative and enacted Lawrence’s fifth-year option at $10.7 million for this season.


Now, Lawrence wants a new deal, somewhere in the defensive tackle going rate of the Rams’ Aaron Donald’s $31.6 million deal and the Eagles’ Jason Hargrave’s $21 million pact. Lawrence and the Commanders’ Darron Payne ($22.5 million) have the same agent.


Lawrence did reach his potential in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s unorthodox system, but he basically was inconsistent the other three years. Barkley’s past provides a stronger case here.


For Barkley and Lawrence, it will come down to whether they can sacrifice for a year or cause some discourse on a team that just shed itself from years of disarray. The Giants certainly don’t need a setback of this magnitude.


If the Giants want to satisfy both Barkley and Lawrence this season, Schoen will need to do some creative bookkeeping. 


This serene offseason could develop into a tumultuous summer.  

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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