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No guarantees Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones will be Giants for life

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants bobbles

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants bobbles the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

John Mara has often said he’d like Saquon Barkley to be a Giant for life.

That may still be the case, but the co-owner of the team is not making that desire — or any others — a prerequisite in the hiring process underway for a new general manager and head coach.

"In terms of Daniel [Jones] or Saquon or anyone else you want to ask me, that’s going to be between the general manager and the head coach," Mara said on Wednesday.

No one, in other words, is safe.

The bloodletting that has taken place in the organization the past few days will continue. And the "start from the ground up" plan that Mara seems to have for the future of the organization appears to apply to every aspect of the team.

Barkley and Jones are, of course, the most visible players and considered the faces of the franchise, not to mention the centerpieces of former general manager Dave Gettleman’s rebuilding plans. Neither has panned out as planned for the Giants as the two first-round picks have not been able to give the team a winning record at any point in their careers and have missed games because of injury in all but one of their combined seven NFL seasons.

Both also are entering the final years of their current rookie contracts. The Giants already exercised a fifth-year option on Barkley for 2022 and this offseason they will have to make a decision on whether to do that with Jones for 2023.

Mara will certainly have to sign off on any big decisions that impact the running back and quarterback of the franchise, but he insisted at several points that if the new general manager and coach are in agreement about something, he will go along with it.

Even, apparently, if that means saying goodbye to players he once thought would never leave.

Schoen and Wilson interview

The Giants held their first two of nine preliminary virtual interviews with general manager candidates, meeting with Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen in the morning and Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson in the afternoon. They are scheduled to meet with Cardinals vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris and Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles on Thursday. At such a pace, the Giants will likely hold in-person interviews with finalists at some point early next week and potentially come to a decision by the end of next week.

Giant steps

The GM interviews are being conducted by co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, as well as Chris Mara, the team’s senior vice president of player personnel. John Mara insisted that his brother Chris is being included in the interviews as part of ownership and not as part of his working job title that would eventually fall under the auspices of the new general manager. John Mara was adamant that Chris Mara and their nephew, Tim McDonnell, the team’s co-director of player personnel, have no "undue influence" on organizational decisions regarding personnel because of their family connection . . . Mara said he believes the Giants remain a desirable job and said they have not been turned down by any candidates they have reached out to about their general manager opening, indicating he had received inquiries from as many as 50 candidates from around the league.

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