Giants star says team should have signed Saquon Barkley before Daniel Jones

New York Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux believes that the team should have paid running back Saquon Barkley before paying quarterback Daniel Jones.

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants
Green Bay Packers v New York Giants / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

During the 2022 NFL season, quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley led the New York Giants to their first postseason since 2016, and their first playoff win since 2011.

Following the playoff run, general manager Joe Schoen rewarded Jones with a massive four-year, $160 million contract, while electing to use the franchise tag on Barkley. The running back wasn't happy with the decision, of course, but he showed up for the Giants' training cap and played the 2023 NFL season under the franchise tag.

Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, however, believes that the team should have paid running back Saquon Barkley before paying quarterback Daniel Jones.

Giants edge rusher says RB Saquon Barkley deserved new contract over QB Daniel Jones

Thibodeaux prefaced his statement by saying he believes in Jones, despite the rough 2023 season that ended with a 6-11 record for the Giants.

"You pay Daniel Jones $40 million. Me, I believe in Daniel Jones," Thibodeaux said on the 7PM in Brooklyn podcast. "What I'm mad about is that Saquon [Barkley] ... 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."

Jones was efficient and played well during the Giants playoff run, but Thibodeaux is among those who believe that Barkley, not Jones, was the driving force behind the offense's success.

In 2022, Barkley earned his second Pro Bowl nod after compiling a career-high 1,312 rushing yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.

The Giants selected the Penn State running back with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — the highest any running back had been taken since Reggie Bush in 2006. Since then, he has been everything the Giants could have asked for.

The Bronx native is a two-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for his impact in the community and a five-time team captain due to his leadership in the locker room. On the field, Barkley proved his worth immediately. As a rookie, the electrifying running back set team records en route to being named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. During that season, he reeled in a rookie-record 91 receptions and recorded seven games with 100-plus rushing yards.

In 2023, Barkley continued to show his worth. He totaled 1,242 yards from scrimmage and accounted for 10 of the Giants' 25 offensive touchdowns. Now, Barkley is hoping to get the deal that his teammates believe he deserves.

Injuries have plagued Barkley throughout his career, which has likely played a significant role in the Giants' hesitation to give him a long-term deal.

“I want them to call the Brink’s truck and come drop off the cash at the front door,” Giants quarterback Danny DeVito told Complex during a joint interview with Barkley. “Now [my] hope is for the Giants [because] I want him to be in the backfield with me and all my team because I think he is the best teammate in the NFL, the best teammate I’ve had around … in my life. Hands down, for sure.”

Barkley is clearly beloved within the Giants' locker room. The front office will have to decide if he's loved throughout the organization.

Next. 5 last-chance options for Bill Belichick to extend his coaching career. 5 last-chance options for Bill Belichick to extend his coaching career. dark