John Mara gave a tone deaf reason why the NY Giants didn't trade Saquon Barkley

The Giants owner is catching a lot of flak for this.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It never felt like the NY Giants were going to keep Saquon Barkley. Last year, they reportedly offered Barkley a three-year deal in the $11 million per year range with around $22 million guaranteed, but the star running back turned it down.

From that point, general manager Joe Schoen dropped subtle hints that Barkley wouldn't be re-signed in free agency. It's unclear if Schoen made Barkley another offer before he agreed to join the Eagles, but the moment Barkley rejected the initial proposal it seemed obvious the Giants should have tried to trade him.

It only makes sense for a team that was going nowhere fast in terms of the playoffs to trade a player it had no intention of keeping long-term, right? That's obviously easier said than done, but not only did the Giants lose Barkley for nothing, they now have to face him twice a year on the hated Eagles.

So, why wasn't Barkley traded? John Mara explained his rationale at the league meetings in Orlando and it will ring hollow among the Giants faithful.

John Mara explains why NY Giants didn't trade Saquon Barkley

“I hate trading guys right at the trade deadline because it almost signals that you’re giving up on the season,” Mara said, per the New York Daily News. “And Saquon, I was still hoping to be able to sign him at some point. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to do it.”

This is a tone-deaf explanation by the Giants owner. Fans will remember that New York was 2-6 before the trade deadline. Tommy DeVito started at quarterback the first game after the Oct. 31 deadline after Tyrod Taylor was injured in the Week 8 overtime loss against the Jets. A not-so friendly reminder that the Giants lost to the Zach Wilson-led Jets. The season was going nowhere.

Mara also contradicted himself because he signed off on trading defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Seahawks before the deadline. The 2024 second-round pick acquired in that deal was used to net pass-rusher Brian Burns from the Panthers.

Barkley only would've netted the Giants a Day 3 pick, but the Williams-Burns swap just speaks to the hidden value of wheeling and dealing. Who knows? Maybe Schoen could have flipped whatever pick he got for Barkley in another deal to trade up in the 2024 draft.

The Barkley saga could not have ended worse for New York. Not only did they screw up by not trading him, but he'll now add more firepower to an Eagles squad that has won 11 of the last 14 meetings against the Giants dating back to 2016. All because Mara didn't want to give up on an already-lost season.