Giants tried to sell Saquon on being a legend in latest episode of "Hard Knocks"

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Hard Knocks has traditionally focused on training camp, and it has also produced an in-season version. However, before this year, it had never covered the offseason, which meant it had never gotten the chance to dig deep into free agency.

On the latest episode of “Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants,” HBO showed exactly how a conversation between a player and team unfolds. The cameras were rolling on general manager Joe Schoen while he shared a plan that tried to sell star running back Saquon Barkley on re-signing with the team for less money.

Schoen outlined his pitch to assistant general manager Brandon Brown as: “Hey, here is our price. You want your name up here forever? Two more years you’re in the Ring of Honor. Or you want a million dollars more to go somewhere else?”

The actual conversation with Barkley went down like this, after some pleasantries.

Schoen: “Just mulling over this, the right thing to do is let you test the market to see what your value is. Um, I don’t want to do the franchise [tag] thing or all that stuff again. I don’t want to go through that. We’ve both been through that. If you really want to be a Giant for life and you’re interested in coming back, see what your market is and have [agent] Ed [Berry] come back to us and we’ll see if we can come to an agreement.”

Barkley: “All right, I appreciate that.”

Schoen: “That sound good?”

Barkley: “Yep.”

Schoen: “Can you give me your word on that, or you not going to give us a chance?”

Barkley: “What do you mean, like circling back?”

Schoen: “Yeah.”

Barkley: “I mean, I already told you where I want to be, so …”

They wrapped up the conversations, and eight days later, at the start of the free agent negotiating window, Barkley signed a three-year, $37.75 million deal with $26 million guaranteed to join the rival Philadelphia Eagles. Guess we’ll find out in future episodes if the Giants ever got their chance to match. Or … not?

To be fair, the Eagles’ offer was more than the Giants ever offered and more than Schoen even seemed to anticipate, based on his comments on the first “Hard Knocks” episode. And now Barkley, after the Giants tried to tug at his heart strings and sell him on being a legend alongside the franchise’s all-time greats, is playing for their division rival.

Schoen admitted in his previous phone call with Berry (which was also shown in the episode) that he was worried about making an offer prior to free agency that would then leave Barkley feeling “disrespected.”

That conversation between general manager and agent basically ended with Berry asking Schoen bluntly: “When you’re in your room at night when you’re by yourself, are you like, ‘I wouldn’t mind if this kid bounced?'”

It goes to show just how tricky these negotiations can be at times. The Giants and Barkley had been negotiating for several years.

But really, it just seemed like Schoen and the organization were ready to move on and reallocate their resources, which is fine. It’s just awkward seeing both sides dance around the obvious in these conversations.

“I think he can still play, but you have to get the value right,” Schoen said to Berry. “You look at the data. The data is what it is.”

He was referring to running back production falling off at age 27. Barkley turned 27 in February. Not surprisingly, he’s gone.

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