Giants owner John Mara must have been devastated when Saquon Barkley left

Mara and Joe Schoen were torn between their Saquon decision
Joe Schoen, John Mara
Joe Schoen, John Mara / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Most NY Giants fans can agree that Saquon Barkley shattered their hearts when he fled to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. Even though the star tailback had his faults, he was loved by Big Blue supporters and spent six years in East Rutherford.

Episode 1 of HBO Max's Hard Knocks shed some light on the internal decisions that led to his exit. It was evident that John Mara, president and co-owner of the Giants, did not want to let his star offensive player walk. He appeared to try and sway Joe Schoen to bring Barkley back, but NY's general manager wouldn't budge:

John Mara advocated for NY Giants to keep Saquon Barkley

Schoen might not have been around when Dave Gettleman selected the Penn State product with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, but Mara was — and he did not hide that he was a big proponent of Barkley. During a conversation with Schoen, Mara said: "In a perfect world, I'd still like to have [Saquon] back."

While re-signing Barkley was still an option heading into free agency, Schoen did not want to franchise tag him or present him with a 'disrespectful' contract offer. He ended up inking a monster three-year, $37.75 million contract with Philly in March.

Schoen acknowledged that Daniel Jones is already on a massive contract, and the front office needs to know whether he will be NY's long-term signal-caller. He wanted to provide him with more weapons and a better offensive line to give him a better chance of succeeding. At the end of the day, paying eight figures annually to an injury-prone running back is not the smartest move for a struggling offense.

The conversation between the two occurred on Feb. 13, less than one month before Barkley left NY. But from the looks of it, Mara was not too pleased with how Schoen handled the situation, and he even made it clear after telling Saquon he was 'sick' about his departure.

For now, the Giants will ride it out with Devin Singletary in the backfield and new offensive line pieces Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor. Hopefully, the decision to let Barkley leave without any compensation in return doesn't come back to bite them.