Hard Knocks offseason features Giants’ moves to land Brian Burns, split with Saquon Barkley in first episode


Once again, Hard Knocks is back in New York.

The classic HBO documentary series kicked off its new offseason version of the show on Tuesday night, where it will be following around the Giants in the lead-up to the traditional version of the show this fall. That series will feature No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams and the Chicago Bears.

There wasn’t a lot that came out of the opening episode, but Giants fans did get an inside look at how the team started negotiations to land pass rusher Brian Burns and how they started talks to split with longtime running back Saquon Barkley.

The Giants traded for Burns this past offseason in a deal with the Carolina Panthers — which is something that apparently started way back in February at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

General manager Joe Schoen, who was the main character of the episode, started off asking fellow general managers if anyone had any interest in trading up for the Giants’ No. 6 overall pick in the draft, though he was half-kidding as he did so. Eventually, Panthers general manager Dan Morgan piped up with an offer for Burns.

“Ohhh!” Schoen replied.

Though it took some time, the Panthers eventually sent Burns to the Giants in exchange for a second- and fifth-round draft pick. Burns then signed a five-year, $150 million deal with the Giants, where he’ll now make a huge impact in a spot the franchise clearly needed help. That was one of Schoen’s big needs early on in the first episode on Tuesday night.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

Though they didn’t get into it much on Tuesday night — we got an inside look at Schoen’s offseason prep after the team’s 6-11 finish last year and at quarterback Daniel Jones’ recovery from his ACL injury — there were plenty of hints at the team’s decision to move on from star running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley, after not getting a long-term extension from the Giants, signed a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. Barkley played last season on the franchise tag, but the two sides failed to come to terms on a deal to keep him in New York for the long haul. Barkley had 962 rushing yards and six touchdowns last season, his sixth in the league.

The episode ended with the front office’s discussions about which direction to take the Giants’ offense, which Schoen seemed set on protecting Jones above all else and waiting for a cheaper running back down the road. How they go about ending the Barkley era in New York, however, left the group at a stalemate.

Though we know the team signed Devin Singletary to a three-year, $16.5 million deal eventually, the rest of this summer season of Hard Knocks is sure to feature Barkley’s departure from the franchise.



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