Giants ‘Hard Knocks’ revealed John Mara didn’t want to lose star free agent

“Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants” aired Tuesday night, giving fans some behind-the-scenes looks at the inner workings of the team during the early months of the year.

As the series began filming as soon as the 2023 season ended, there has been unprecedented access from the beginning of the offseason.

One of the main talking points of the first episode involved 2024 NFL free agency — specifically star running back Saquon Barkley, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

While future episodes will continue to dive deeper into the situation, it was clear one person really wanted Barkley to return to the Giants: president and CEO John Mara.

A clip from the first episode revealed a conversation between Mara and general manager Joe Schoen in the latter’s office. Specifically discussing Barkley’s potential to hit free agency, Mara made it clear he would prefer the star running back to return to the Giants.

“In a perfect world, I’d still like to have him back until we can prove we have a decent offense without him,” Mara said.

Schoen retorted by explaining to Mara that the Giants need to find out what they have in their $40 million quarterback in Daniel Jones and that it might be best to build around him.

Mara even suggested drafting a running back early (in a questionable class) if they didn’t re-sign Barkley.

Ultimately, Schoen underestimated what Barkley would get on the open market, but this first episode revealed he was always leaning toward the star running back leaving.

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