Saquon Barkley said Giants GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll pulled him aside last week to assure him after the running back was asked about possibly being traded before the NFL’s Halloween deadline.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a sigh of relief. It didn’t cross my mind,” Barkley told reporters after Sunday’s 14-7 win over the Washington Commanders.“I don’t even think about it. I know you guys are doing your job and asking the question.
“There was a conversation during the week from [head coach Brian Daboll] and [GM] Joe [Schoen],” he added. “They pulled me aside and talked to me. I can’t control that, if it doesn’t happen or it does happen. What I can control is how I come to work every single day and how I compete, my mindset and my work ethic. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Barkley, 26, consistently has said he wants to remain a Giant. He said it again last week after Thursday’s practice.
“Sitting here, everyone knows how I feel. Everyone knows I don’t want to get traded,” Barkley said. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind would want to get traded anywhere. It’s not an easy thing to do. You’ve got to move. I have a family. I would love to be here.
“But like I said, it’s not in my control,” Barkley continued. “My focus is to be the leader I can be for this team and get this thing on the right track.”
Hours before the Giants’ win over Washington, NFL Network reported the team “doesn’t intend to trade” Barkley. Beating the Commanders improved the Giants to 2-5, too, with Sunday’s game against the Jets (3-3) on deck for Schoen’s team to possibly build some momentum.
But there are no absolutes in this business, and there won’t be in this situation until the deadline passes.
Even Barkley told the Daily News before the Buffalo loss of trade possibilities: “That may come into question if this thing doesn’t get turned around, but right now … we’re focused on trying to get a spark, get our mojo back and get this thing turned around.”
Trading Barkley wouldn’t make sense for the Giants from a ticket-selling standpoint even if they lose to the Jets, because he’s the primary player fans pay to see on Sundays.
But from the football business side, it could be a benefit for Schoen to acquire assets for a valuable player who might not re-sign next spring anyway — especially if the Giants fall to 2-6 this weekend and the season continues to look like a huge bust.
Barkley is only playing on a one-year franchise tag, and considering how his contract negotiations soured with the Giants this past offseason, keeping him to try and re-sign him in March would be a gamble by the organization.
In the end, though, what might matter most is what any NFL teams offer Schoen for Barkley if and when they call before next Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Schoen will be on the phone anyway with players like Leonard Williams, Parris Campbell, Xavier McKinney and Adoree Jackson as logical potential trade candidates due to some combination of their on-field values, contracts and roles — or lack thereof, in Campbell’s case.
And listening to an offer for Barkley always could bring the same result as looking for one. Unless Schoen plans to simply hang up.
The Giants placed RB Eric Gray (calf) & OT Matt Peart (shoulder) on injured reserve. They officially signed RB Jashaun Corbin to the active roster and OLB Justin Hollins to the practice squad. They also claimed RB Deon Jackson off waivers. He is Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas’ high school teammate and good friend.