Did the New York Giants Do Enough to Replace Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney?

After losing Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney, did the New York Giants adequately replace them?
Former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley signed with the rival Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.
Former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley signed with the rival Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. / Kevin R. Wexler The Record / USA TODAY
In this story:

The New York Giants roster is a work in progress that allowed star running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney to walk in free agency. Did the Giants do enough through their free agency and NFL Draft moves to replace the lost talent?

Allowing Barkley to leave made sense to me. He is an expensive running back who has dealt with health issues for much of his career, so don’t spend more capital without a win-now roster.

The Giants brought in running backs Devin Singletary and Tyrone Tracy Jr. to replace Barkley’s production, and they hope that second-year back Eric Gray will take the next step.

As an immediate starter, Singletary doesn’t bring the explosive ability that Barkley did but he should see less negative plays. Stylistically there are major differences between Singletary and Barkley that could also indicate what the Giants want to do schematically.

The moves made on the offensive line, along with the addition of Singletary, could be hinting that the Giants want to lean more toward a power-run style of offense - where Singletary found success in Houston.

In the passing game, Barkley will be missed more than anything else. Rookie Tyrone Tracy Jr spent most of his college career at Iowa and Purdue playing wide receiver before moving into the backfield for the 2023 season.

If he can pick up enough playbooks to contribute to passing downs, then some of Barkley’s production can be replaced there.

Tracy was solid in pass protection at Purdue but will need to be more capable of stopping blitzers consistently to be trusted to protect Daniel Jones.

Defensively, the loss of McKinney will likely be felt for the 2024 season. It’s no secret that I think McKinney is one of the best young safeties in the NFL and was close to being in the top tier of safeties for me, but he goes to the Packers instead as one of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL.

Despite having  as my highest-rated safety (14th overall player) in the NFL Draft, it’s not reasonable to expect him to replace McKinney as a rookie.

Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen asks his safeties to be versatile and consistent and while Nubin put that on film at Minnesota, there’s always a learning curve to the NFL.

Jason Pinnock has proven to be a reliable option in zone coverage but is best suited as a complementary piece rather than a safety around which you can set your game plan.

Dane Belton's taking the next step developmentally is something I would expect now that he’s in a system more comparable to what he played in college.

It simply wasn’t possible this offseason to replace what McKinney brought to the table with just one player, but with the defensive scheme change and spending early capital on Nubin, the Giants did what they could to minimize the loss without paying a safety premium money.

Brandon Olsen


Brandon Olsen is the founder of Whole Nine Sports, specializing in NFL Draft coverage, and is the host of the Locked On Gators Podcast.