Joe Schoen
Danielle Parhizkaran | The Record

You cannot say no one saw the Giants’ early-season struggles coming. Because we thought this regression was likely, for one. But anyway.

It has been a rough start for Big Blue. They are 1-2, they have played one good half of football and they are headed into a must-win Week 4 matchup with the Seahawks next Monday night. And now their league rivals are clowning on them, too.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen caught some shrapnel for his Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones decisions this offseason in reporter Jason La Canfora’s latest column for The Washington Post:

[Barkley and Jones are] costing the Giants over $56 million this season alone, with Jones owed another $36 million fully guaranteed in 2024. “If they played this right, I think they keep the quarterback and the running back, on multiyear deals, for less than they’re paying them this year alone,” the GM said. “They really screwed that up. I don’t think they win nine games with that roster this year, and Barkley is up at the end of the season, and that will be the end of that.”

A longtime contract negotiator from another NFL team believes had the Giants not tagged Barkley, he would be back on a deal worth around $8 million per year, while if the Giants had placed a nonexclusive tag on Jones — as the Ravens did with former MVP Lamar Jackson (which never resulted in a qualifying offer from another team) — he would be back at far less than the $40 million per year he’s owed between this season and next. “Rookie GM that didn’t know the player market value and wrong negotiating strategy,” the negotiator said of Giants GM Joe Schoen.

This criticism feels a bit cheap. At least when it comes to Jones. If you want to knock Schoen for tagging Barkley, that’s fine. The Giants should have moved on from the running back. Or at least made him test the market. But Schoen managed to avoid locking Barkley down long-term — although he may have some incompetent agent work to thank for it — and the Giants can be done with Barkley as soon as this spring.

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As for Jones: The Giants really did not have much choice. Jones had them over a barrel. They did not want to give him the franchise tag, they did not have a viable second quarterback option on the roster, they did not have the cap space to get involved in free agency, the roster to get into the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes or the draft capital to trade up for a passer. They had to give Jones what he wanted. So they did that. And with an easy two-year exit window if Jones does not continue to ascend.

If you want to hammer Schoen, hammer him for the fact Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux are beginning to concern everyone with underwhelming starts to their second year.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.