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GM Joe Schoen turns attention to rest of offseason to-do-list


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Schoen can now turn his attention to the Giants' numerous other items on his offseason to-do list.

With Daniel Jones signed to a four-year contract and Saquon Barkley receiving the franchise tag, the Giants general manager will begin work on securing free agents and diving deeper into the NFL Draft.

One of his first tasks will be to reconnect with Barkley, who can sign a long-term contract until July 17. That would benefit both sides – a higher salary for Barkley, more cap space for the Giants.

"I haven't talked in-depth with Saquon yet. I'm going to talk to him today," Schoen said. "That's negotiations. We had some deals out there, and we tried to get a deal done with him and his representatives. And we couldn't. I think both parties knew at the end of the day that this was an option, and if he's frustrated, I can understand some of that. We could be frustrated as well that we weren't able to get a deal done. I love Saquon. He's a good player. He's going to be a part of this team going forward. We'll see where it goes from here.

"We'll see what happens with Saquon. The franchise number is just over $10 (million). If you extend him, and there's a signing bonus involved, you can free up more cap space."

The Giants' free agents include safety Julian Love; wide receivers Richie James, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard; offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates; linebacker Jihad Ward; punter Jamie Gillan; and long snapper Casey Kreiter. 

"We're going to start reaching out to the agents today, kind of seeing where they are, where we are," Schoen said. "We're going to see if we can get something done before Wednesday, when the new league year starts. We'll be in constant communication with those guys in the next few days."

Schoen will also consider a new deal for Dexter Lawrence, who is entering his fifth season.

"Dexter Lawrence is a guy we've started talking with his representatives," Schoen said. "He's on the fifth-year option. You can lower that number with a signing bonus. So, the signing bonus allows you to spread the money over the length of the contract up to five years, and that's how you're able to lower the yearly amount that counts against the cap." 

Schoen will also consider a restructuring of Leonard Williams' contract.

"Those are ongoing conversations," Schoen said today. "We got back from the Combine late Sunday night. Athletes First (Jones' representatives) was here on Monday. The meetings that I've had this morning are usually done the Monday after the Combine. So, it was kind of a 'wait and see' until we knew where we landed with Daniel and Saquon. And now that we're there, now we're really going into strategy meetings leading up to Monday when we can start negotiating with free agents.

How to handle the impending release of wide receiver Kenny Golladay is also on Schoen's docket.

"Kenny – we'll see. There's a good chance that we just take the hit this year. We already have some money that's dead money in 2024 just to get through this past season. We had to do some financial moves and actually kick dead money into 2024. So, if we can take our medicine this year, I think that'll help us get out of the business of having a lot of dead money in any year."

"If you're sitting there with $17 million in dead money, and it's 12 months from now, (you might think), 'Gosh dang. I wish we would have just taken our medicine last year. We'd have more money.' And we have (tackle) Andrew Thomas who's a good player, (safety) Xavier McKinney – there's other players on the roster who you may want to extend, or you may want to go outside the building. So, if we have the financial flexibility just to take our medicine and take on the dead money this year, that may be better. But those are all decisions that we'll make moving forward. We're having those meetings now and going through what the best-case scenarios are. We still have until Wednesday to make that decision."

*The Giants signed linebacker Jarrad Davis, who was scheduled to become a free agent.

Davis was signed off the Detroit Lions' practice squad on Dec. 28 and started all three games in which he played for the Giants, including the regular-season finale in Philadelphia and both postseason games. He recorded 14 tackles (seven solo), one tackle for loss, a half-sack, and one pass defensed.

*Schoen, who was the Bills' assistant general manager before joining the Giants last year, said he received congratulatory phone calls from Buffalo after signing Jones.

"A lot of those," he said. "And talking with (general manager) Brandon (Beane); I talked to him last night. I watched him go through this (with quarterback Josh Allen), but until you actually go through it, you don't realize the stress, the pressure, the back and forth and sleepless nights and how much it weighs on you. I told him I totally understand now those mornings when he came in and he looked like hell because he wasn't sleeping. And I knew exactly where he was."


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