New York Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has the back of teammate Saquon Barkley, who he believes should’ve been paid before quarterback Daniel Jones.
Thibodeaux spoke to Carmelo Anthony and The Kid Mero on the “7PM in Brooklyn” podcast and prefaced a statement on the matter by saying he believes in Jones, saying 2023 was a rough season for the man who got a four-year, $160 million extension from the Giants just before the franchise tag deadline last March.
However, after watching Barkley lead the Giants’ offense during a playoff run in 2022 — Thibodeaux’s rookie season — the fifth overall pick by New York explained why he felt Barkley should’ve been given his due.
“You pay Daniel Jones $40 million. Me, I believe in Daniel Jones,” Thibodeaux said. “Let me tell you what I’m mad at, and it’s the only thing I’ll say about that. What I’m mad about is that Saquon, because if you look at the game, the tape, Saquon was responsible for at least 30% of our explosive plays — talking about the year we won the playoff game.
“So, for me and for the integrity of working together and hard work, and we all believe the same things, I feel like Saquon should have got paid first. That’s what I feel.”
After the Giants made the playoffs last season, which included a road wild-card win over the Minnesota Vikings, the belief was New York would continue to compete for the playoffs in 2024.
General manager Joe Schoen decided to give an extension to Jones, who impressed his new coaching staff under Brian Daboll and the front office with 15 touchdown passes and 3,205 yards through the air while cutting down turnovers. Jones also rushed for 708 yards with seven touchdowns on the ground.
Barkley also had a solid season, earning another Pro Bowl nod after rushing for 1,312 yards, a career high, and scoring 10 touchdowns.
When it came time to make a decision, Schoen gave Jones the contract, while Barkley was franchise tagged.
It was a move that didn’t initially sit well with the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, who understood the business side of the league while other running backs dealt with the same situation. He ended up getting an incentivized tag, and he showed up for the Giants’ first day of training camp.
Barkley will face the same situation this offseason. Will the Giants pay up or will the franchise tag come out again? Barkley recently said he hopes the Giants make their intentions known sooner than they did last season.
But both players have question marks after a 6-11 disappointment in 2023. There is an opt-out clause after the 2024 campaign in Jones’ contract, and with the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, the Giants could take a quarterback to compete with Jones.