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Joe Schoen pleaded with Saquon Barkley to give Giants last call in free agency, ‘Hard Knocks’ reveals



Joe Schoen pleaded with Saquon Barkley to give Giants last call in free agency, ‘Hard Knocks’ reveals

Much of the second episode of “Hard Knocks” centered on the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

But the most dramatic scene of the show came back in New Jersey.

The second episode, which was released Tuesday, ends with Giants general manager Joe Schoen asking running back Saquon Barkley to come back to him after Barkley tests free agency to allow the Giants a chance to match whatever offer he receives.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen talks on the photo during Episode 2 of “Hard Knocks.” MAX

“Can you give me your word on that or are you not going to give us a chance?” Schoen says in a phone call with Barkley on March 5, days before free agency began.

Barkley responds: “I mean, I already told you where I want to be.”

The episode ends with that phone call.

Presumably we will see what unfolds when Barkley signs with the Eagles in the next episode and whether the star running back did give the Giants a shot to match the three-year, $37.75 million deal that Philly gave him.

This episode spends a lot of time on the draft evaluation process, the scouting combine in particular.

It opens with Schoen receiving the news that the salary cap would be $255.4 million, much higher than the Giants or anyone in the NFL anticipated.

The news comes with Schoen watching tape of free agents and he comments how this could change things with the Giants’ top two free agents — Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney.

Saquon Barkley attended the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

“That kind of changes the game plan,” Shoen tells director of pro scouting Chris Rossetti.

Before the call to Barkley at the end of the episode, Schoen has a call with Barkley’s agent, Ed Berry, on the same day.

He tells Berry that he does not want to make Barkley an offer that Barkley might feel is disrespectful and then have him take $1 million more from another team.

Instead, he tells Berry he does not have a sense of the market and he wants Barkley to go out and find what his value is around the league and then return to him to make a counteroffer.

He then calls Barkley and tells him his plan. Barkley does not sound insulted.

“All right. I appreciate that,” Barkley said.

Most of the episode features footage from the scouting combine and the scouting meetings before the combine.

The Giants scouts discuss LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers before the combine, the player they eventually would draft at No. 6 overall.

Saquon Barkley joined the Eagles in the offseason. AP

“We need to get around this kid and see if we can work with him because there is a lot to his personality,” area scout Scott Hamel said.

The rumors about the Giants showing interest in trading up with the Patriots to No. 3 are also shown to be true with Schoen going to the Patriots suite at the combine to talk to Patriots executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf.

“I’m just going to go down there,” Schoen says before making the walk around Lucas Oil Stadium, “and say, ‘hey, before you do anything at 3, just make sure you let us know. If you are going to move the pick, don’t do it without at least giving us a call. We’re interested.’ I’ll go plant the seed.”

The cameras show him ask Wolf to step outside the suite and then you hear Schoen say: “Just do this for me, if you guys are going to do anything at three, like move out at all. You’re not going to tell me your plan or anything but if you have any inkling just call me.”

Wolf tells him they have received some similar inquiries from teams.

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