Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

The New York Giants (5-9) had their three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints (7-7), which seemingly put an end to their slim playoff hopes. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the game for the Giants. 

Draft position may have worsened, but their three-game win streak wasn’t a waste

New York looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL and seemed destined to contend for the first overall pick in next April’s draft when QB Daniel Jones suffered his season-ending ACL tear last month. However, the unexpected emergence of rookie QB Tommy DeVito resulted in the Giants playing their way out of range for a top pick.

Winning isn’t the most desirable outcome in an otherwise lost season, but the Giants proved during their recently ended winning streak that their future can still be bright even without the No. 1 overall pick.

Despite guiding the team to an improbable playoff run last season, the Giants coaching staff faced serious doubts about whether they were the right hire after getting blown out in six of their first 10 games of 2023. It appeared that frustrations in the locker room were at their breaking point and there were even reports claiming that DC Wink Martindale would be dismissed by the end of the season.

Nevertheless, after stringing together wins with an undrafted rookie quarterback while having the defense rack up two-thirds of last season’s turnover total in a three-game stretch, it’s clear HC Brian Daboll’s staff is equipped to lead their rebuild. The Giants likely missed out on quarterback prospects Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, but with a coach like Daboll, who has succeeded with Jones, DeVito and Tyrod Taylor, they have a much brighter outlook than other rebuilding teams. 

RB Saquon Barkley’s dud foreshadows a familiar situation for this offseason

Barkley was a non-factor on Sunday, rushing for 14 yards – the fifth-fewest single-game total of his career – and catching two passes for 23 yards. While it’s easy to say that the Giants should’ve given their best player more touches, it isn’t particularly challenging to game plan for an offense primarily driven by a running back, which highlights the dilemma with Barkley. Even though the two-time Pro Bowler continues to be the backbone of the Giants, it’s inevitable that he’ll face similar contract negotiations as last offseason.

Back in July, New York inked Barkley to a one-year, $11 million deal after several failed attempts to agree on a multi-year contract. Any one-year contract carries little risk and while Barkley has lived up to his end of the deal by averaging the sixth-most rushing yards per game (78.3), he has also validated the Giants’ worries about signing him long-term.

An extensive injury history at the most replaceable position in the sport raised obvious concerns for New York and significantly contributed to Barkley’s complicated negotiations. The concerns were quickly justified as Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 that forced him to miss three games, none of which the Giants won. It’s apparent the Giants need an effective Barkley to be successful, yet after another season of injuries and tread on his tires, the team is facing an equally difficult offseason of negotiations with their star player.

Re-signing Barkley would make the Giants a better team in 2024, but giving him anything more than the multi-year extension worth $13 million annually they offered him last offseason could prove to be a costly mistake. Considering the franchise tag will be worth $12.4 million for next season, perhaps New York could convince Barkley to give up his pursuit of a long-term deal in exchange for the slight increase in salary.

GM Joe Schoen should address this position in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft

Although the Giants must revamp an offensive line that has allowed the most sacks in the NFL (76) this offseason, they shouldn’t invest another first-round pick into the unit. Instead, with as loaded a wide receiver class as we’ve seen in years, New York should strive to finally secure a No. 1 weapon for Jones.

After finishing with the sixth-fewest receiving yards last season (3,431), the Giants added to their receiving corps through the draft and free agency. While the team improved on paper, most notably by trading for TE Darren Waller and drafting WR Jalin Hyatt, that pair has combined for just one touchdown and 767 of the Giants’ 2,533 receiving yards, the fewest of any team.

According to Tankathon, the Giants are projected to select seventh overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, though it’s still possible they could end up with a top-five pick. Even so, they’d still be out of range for Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr., who is arguably the best player in the draft but would be in position to land LSU’s Malik Nabers, the nation’s leading receiver.

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The post Three takeaways from Giants’ deflating loss to Saints appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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