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Four compelling storylines that should be featured on ‘Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants’

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In preparation for their 100th season, the Giants will finally make their “Hard Knocks” debut, but with a slight twist.

On Wednesday, it was announced that New York would be the featured team for the HBO franchise’s first offseason installment, which will be a five-part series premiering on July 2. Even though the Giants might not have the most exciting roster, few teams had a more eventful and dramatic offseason, setting the stage for what could be one of the better seasons of “Hard Knocks.”

With that in mind, here are four compelling storylines we hope will be extensively featured on “Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants.”

Running back Saquon Barkley signs with the Eagles

The most noteworthy development of New York’s offseason undoubtedly was Barkley’s decision to join the Eagles on a three-year, $37.75M deal. The former No. 2 overall pick was the most prominent player on the Giants over the last six seasons, and while he didn’t experience much team success, he leaves as the franchise’s fourth all-time leading rusher (5,211 yards).

Barkley re-signing with the Giants seemed unlikely, considering they couldn’t agree to an extension after more than a year of negotiations because the team was unwilling to invest heavily in an aging running back. Spurning New York for a division rival was surprising and will surely make for a dramatic episode. Hopefully, HBO will show the unfiltered reactions members of New York’s front office, coaching staff and roster had after learning about Barkley’s deal.

It’s also worth mentioning that since the filming for this installment of “Hard Knocks” began in January, Barkley was still a member of the Giants. Perhaps there’ll be some footage of Barkley addressing his intentions for his free-agent process in the opening scene of an episode. 

The trade for edge-rusher Brian Burns

Although the Giants lost two franchise cornerstones in Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney, the first day of the free-agent legal tampering period wasn’t a complete disaster. New York swung a blockbuster deal with the Carolina Panthers, trading the Nos. 39 and 141 picks in last month’s draft and a 2025 fifth-round selection for Burns — a two-time Pro Bowler — and a 2024 fifth-rounder.

Additionally, the Giants immediately locked up Burns long-term, signing the 26-year-old to a massive five-year contract extension worth up to $150M, including $87.5M guaranteed.

As long as HBO doesn’t water down the content, much like it did when covering the Jets last offseason, this could be the most fascinating situation to watch unfold. With the fallout of Barkley and McKinney’s respective departures to the complex trade and contract negotiations involving Burns, HBO has an excellent opportunity to give viewers a behind-the-scenes experience unlike anything previously seen on “Hard Knocks.”

The pre-draft process

New York was one of the more intriguing teams to follow throughout the pre-draft process, as there was plenty of smoke that it was seriously considering selecting QB Daniel Jones’ successor.

The Giants committed a controversial four-year $160M contract extension to Jones last offseason, only for the former first-round pick to struggle mightily in six games of an injury-plagued 2023 season. Since New York can get out of Jones’ contract next offseason, GM Joe Schoen spent considerable time evaluating the highly touted 2024 rookie quarterback class. New York ultimately selected LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers with its sixth overall pick, though it aggressively tried to trade up to draft now-Patriots QB Drake Maye, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

It’s unlikely that the failed attempt for Maye will be featured, especially since the Giants are sticking with Jones for 2024. However, it’ll be interesting to see whether HBO at least includes the pre-draft visits the team had with the top quarterback prospects or if it brushes over New York’s interest in selecting a signal-caller entirely. Even so, getting an inside look at a team’s pre-draft process and the war room on draft day is bound to be entertaining. 

The Wink Martindale saga

If HBO is willing to dive deep into this topic, the first episode of “Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants” will be nothing short of dramatic.

In January, the Giants announced they expected DC Don “Wink” Martindale back for this season and fired outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins and defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins. The brothers were two of Martindale’s closest assistants, which prompted him to curse out head coach Brian Daboll and storm out of New York’s practice facility. As a result of this and previously reported friction between Daboll and Martindale, the Giants and the defensive coordinator agreed to part ways on Jan. 10.

The messy divorce will have to be addressed in some capacity, but HBO has a variety of ways to portray it. The Giants could decide to save face by downplaying the situation or instead take a final parting shot at Martindale as a way to show support for Daboll, who some believe could be on the hot seat in 2024.

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