Dec 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants tight end Darren Waller (12) in the tunnel against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Giants GM: TE Darren Waller still undecided; draft trade talk ‘surprising’

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller continues to contemplate retirement and general manager Joe Schoen has not given the 31-year-old a deadline for his decision.

Schoen said Thursday at a pre-draft press conference the Giants are giving Waller the time and space he requested to deliberate whether to re-invest in the physical and emotional toll required to continue his NFL career.

The Giants could consider a tight end in the draft with Georgia’s Brock Bowers standing out as the top talent at the position.

But Schoen sounded more inclined to weigh trade options because of the number of holes the Giants have on the roster.

With Waller’s future up in the air, wide receiver Darius Slayton also is avoiding voluntary workouts and reportedly seeking a new contract. Schoen said Thursday the Giants understand the business side and said the situation serves as a reminder the team work in April is “voluntary.”

“I understand where he’s coming from. That’s his prerogative,” Schoen said.

The Giants hosted multiple wide receivers on “top 30” visits including likely top-10 picks Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State, Malik Nabers of LSU and Rome Odunze of Washington. All three visited New Jersey on the same day in March.

Recent additions at wide receiver have produced underwhelming results. The Giants traded 2021 first-round receiver Kadarius Toney — a selection made by the front office preceding Schoen’s arrival — and parted with big-ticket free agent Kenny Golladay in 2022.

Roster needs are plentiful entering 2024. They could include quarterback and running back. Daniel Jones is coming off of neck surgery and Saquon Barkley bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent.

If it comes down to trading out of the No. 6 spot to stockpile picks, Schoen said the number of calls from teams inquiring about that pick has been a surprise.

New York also is making calls of its own.

Schoen said the Giants’ “expectation” is for Jones to return as the team’s starter, even as reports of the team’s interest in prospects at the position gain steam.

“I’ve still got a lot of confidence in Daniel,” Schoen said. “He’s here all the time. We’ve got a good relationship.”

Reports indicate the Giants also are looking into moving up. Schoen didn’t confirm on Thursday but did admit he’s aware the teams with the top three picks — Chicago, Washington and New England — aren’t “inclined to move right now.”

“I don’t think anybody’s ready to move right now, I know people are listening,” Schoen said.

Waller, who will turn 32 in September, caught 52 passes for 552 yards and one touchdown in 12 games (11 starts) last season with New York.

The Giants signed tight ends Jack Stoll and Chris Manhertz in free agency.

Waller is due a base salary of $10.5 million in 2024. He signed a three-year, $51 million contract extension with the Las Vegas Raiders in September 2022. New York acquired him from Las Vegas in March 2023 for a third-round pick in the 2023 draft.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs with the ball during warmups for their game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Giants GM on Saquon Barkley departure: ‘Can’t keep them all’

The New York Giants suffered one of the marquee departures in free agency when running back Saquon Barkley signed a $37.75 million deal with NFC East rival Philadelphia two weeks ago.

General manager Jim Schoen has been busy tweaking the Giants’ roster since, and he had a pragmatic answer when asked about Barkley’s departure at the NFL owners meetings on Monday.

“I wish Saquon nothing but the best,” Schoen told reporters. “You can’t keep them all. He did a lot for the franchise. Walter Payton Man of the Year, a lot of production. I enjoyed working with him for two years and everything he did for (coach Brian Daboll) and I in that playoff run (in 2022). I wish him nothing but the best.”

Barkley, 27, rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns in 14 starts last season, just shy of his fourth 1,000-yard season. He has been replaced, at least for the time being, by former Texans and Bills running back Devin Singletary, who leads a backfield depth chart that also includes Gary Brightwell and Eric Gray.

Schoen also signed guards Aaron Stinnie from Tampa Bay and Jon Runyan from Green Bay, tackle Jermaine Eluemunor from Las Vegas and backup center Austin Schlottmann from Minnesota in an effort to bolster a group that allowed a league-high 85 sacks last season.

The offensive line was the primary focus of free agency for Schoen, who also made a big splash with the trade and signing of pass rusher Brian Burns.

The Giants also hold the No. 6 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft and own three of the top 70 picks overall. Schoen predictably played his cards close to his vest when asked about how he is approaching the draft.

“We’ll look at all options, whether it’s going up, back, staying,” he said. “Ultimately, I think we’ll end up with a good player.”

Whether that is one of the several highly-touted quarterbacks in this class remains to be seen. Schoen said Daniel Jones is “on the right track” in his return from injury, while Drew Lock was signed to compete for the backup job along with Tommy DeVito.

This is seen as a critical year for Schoen and Daboll, who made waves two years ago with the Giants making the playoffs only to plummet to 6-11 last season.

“It takes time, as much as you want instant gratification, and nobody wants that more than me,” Schoen said. “I think you have to believe in the principles and in terms of how to build the team, and we’re going on our third draft. It takes time.

“When I look back at the 2021 roster and where we are now, I just think we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ll continue to head in the right direction in terms of bringing in our type of players and what we’re looking for schematically, what Dabs is looking at for his offense, and we’ll keep making progress.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2023; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and general manager Joe Schoen, left, on day two of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Giants GM: ‘Expectation’ is Daniel Jones returns as QB1

Giants general manager Joe Schoen plans to add a quarterback before the 2024 season, but the franchise’s expectation is for Daniel Jones to recover from knee surgery and remain the starter next season.

Schoen said the Giants could draft a quarterback — even in the first round, based on a philosophy to draft the best available player — but he still believes in Jones.

“I’ve seen it. You guys all saw last season. The guy won 10 games. He won a road playoff game for the Giants,” Schoen said.

Schoen said the Giants signed current starter Tommy DeVito, an undrafted free agent rookie, to a three-year deal when he was added to the 53-man roster.

But he said the “expectation” shared with ownership and the coaching staff in regular meetings is for Jones to take the field with the Giants in July as the starter.

Schoen said Jones’ successful knee surgery last week has him on a timeline to return before training camp. Jones, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract in March, said last week that his recovery period could be 8-10 months. Camp begins in eight months.

“So we’ll attack that and approach that, work on that day by day and try to get back as fast as I can,” Jones last week on the “Up & Adams Show.”

Jones, 26, finished with two touchdown passes and six interceptions in six games this season. He also missed three games with a neck injury.

Jones is 22-36-1 as a starter with 62 touchdown passes and 40 picks in 60 games (59 starts) since being drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrate while leaving the field after their game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants believe they can retain both Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants remain hopeful they can reach long-term agreements with both quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley this offseason.

Both players are slated to become free agents with the franchise tag possibly being utilized on one of them.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen said Tuesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” the team would get deals done with both Jones and Barkley.

Schoen reiterated that Jones will be on the 2023 roster. What isn’t clear is whether the team can reach a long-term deal with Jones or will use the franchise tag by the March 7 deadline.

Last April, the Giants declined Jones’ fifth-year option worth $22.3 million for 2023.

Then Jones enjoyed the best season of his four-year career by throwing just five interceptions and leading the Giants to the postseason. He passed for 15 touchdowns and set career highs for yardage (3,205), completion percentage (67.2), rushing yardage (708) and rushing scores (seven).

Jones is reportedly seeking a deal worth at least $45 million per season. Schoen didn’t have much to say about that report.

“I’m not going to get into that,” Schoen said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “I don’t want to get any divide on that stuff. We’re going to keep the negotiations between the two parties, and I think it’s best to do it that way.”

If the Giants use the franchise tag on Jones, his pay would be $32.4 million in 2023.

Meanwhile, Barkley played for $7.2 million in his fifth-year option last season and is looking for a sizable raise as part of a long-term deal.

Barkley rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards and added 10 rushing touchdowns last season after battling injuries the previous two seasons. He reportedly previously turned down a deal worth over $12 million annually.

Schoen feels the two sides have narrowed the difference in recent negotiations.

“We haven’t totally bridged (the difference). We’re a little bit closer,” Schoen said. “There’s still a gap. (Otherwise) would’ve done it. We’ll still work through that.”

The franchise tag for running backs is $10.09 million.

–Field Level Media

Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones of the Giants in the second half. The Houston Texans at the New York Giants in a game played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on November 13, 2022.

The Houston Texans Face The New York Giants In A Game Played At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford Nj On November 13 2022

Giants GM wants QB, top RB back in 2023

Quarterback Daniel Jones could have been under contract with the New York Giants for 2023, but general manager Joe Schoen declined a fifth-year option that sets the stage for contract talks next month.

“We’re happy Daniel’s gonna be here,” Schoen said Monday. “Hopefully, we can get something done with his representatives, and that would be the goal: to build the team around him where he could lead us to win a Super Bowl.”

Jones would have made $22.4 million in 2023 on his fifth-year option, available as a player-retention tool for NFL teams only with first-round picks. Jones was the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft and is in line for a massive raise based on market value of starting quarterbacks rising like waterfront real estate.

Jones posted career-highs in completion percentage (67.2) and passing yards (3,205), with a 15-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Jones also rushed for 708 yards and seven touchdowns.

Head coach Brian Daboll said Monday that Jones has “done everything we’ve asked him to do” this season. Jones said Sunday he’d “love to be here,” but “there’s a business side.”

Schoen and Daboll inherited Jones — drafted by the previous management regime led by GM Dave Gettleman — and running back Saquon Barkley, who is headed for free agency.

Barkley said after the Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional playoffs on Saturday night that he can’t imagine it was his last time in the team’s uniform. Barkley and the team did discuss a contract extension during the 2022 season but Schoen said Monday that the two sides “weren’t really that close.”

The No. 2 overall pick in 2018, Barkley set career-highs in rushing categories with 295 carries for 1,312 yards — both fourth in the NFL — and scored 10 touchdowns. He also caught 38 passes. Barkley played the 2022 season on his fifth-year option, playing in 16 regular-season games for the first time since his rookie season.

“We’re less than 48 hours after that game, so everybody is going to step back, take the emotion out of it,” Schoen said. “Evaluate the roster and then again, we got to operate under a salary cap. How are we going to divvy up? How we’re going to create the roster. What other priority positions and how we are going to move forward. We would like to have Saquon back if it works out.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; A view of the helmets of New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and Giants inside linebacker Blake Martinez (54) resting on equipment case on the sidelines against the Washington Football Team at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants hire Bills’ personnel man Joe Schoen as GM

Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen was hired as GM of the New York Giants on Friday.

The Giants informed finalists Friday morning that a deal was close with Schoen, who is the first general manager for the franchise hired outside the organization since Ernie Accorsi in 1998.

“We are pleased and proud to name Joe as our general manager,” Giants president John Mara said. “Throughout our search, Joe impressed us with his ability to communicate a progressive and comprehensive vision for our team. His philosophy and collaborative approach to building a roster and coaching staff align with what we were looking for in a general manager.”

Schoen, the first to interview for the vacancy Jan. 12, won over Mara, chairman Steve Tisch and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara. Their second interview took place at team headquarters on Tuesday.

“Joe is the kind of exceptional leader we sought to oversee our football operations,” Tisch said. “We will do whatever it takes to support Joe’s vision and strategic plan for success. We are excited to begin this next chapter with Joe as our general manager.”

Schoen has 20 years of scouting and executive experience in the NFL, including the last five with the Bills. Before joining Buffalo in 2017 he spent most of the previous decade with the Miami Dolphins, including four years as the director of player personnel.

Schoen, 42, also worked with the Carolina Panthers (2001-07) under current Bills general manager Brandon Beane.

“It is an honor to accept the position of general manager of the New York Giants,” Schoen said. “I want to thank John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families for this tremendous opportunity. And obviously I am grateful to Brandon and the Bills for the experience I have had in Buffalo.

“Now, the work begins. My immediate focus is to hire a head coach, with who I will work in lockstep with to create a collaborative environment for our football operations. We will cast a wide net, it can be former head coaches, first-time head coaches but, more importantly, it has to be a person who possesses the ability to lead an organization and the ability to motivate and develop players.

“On the personnel side, we will begin to evaluate our roster and prepare for the draft and free agency. Our goal is to build a roster that will be competitive, have depth, and most importantly, win football games.”

Interviews for the head-coaching position are ongoing, with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn recently added to the list.

The Giants fired head coach Joe Judge after two seasons, including a 4-13 finish in 2021. General manager Dave Gettleman retired after the season.

–Field Level Media