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John Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, expressed his disappointment after star running back Saquon Barkley signed with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. Mara admitted that he texted Barkley to tell him how he felt about the decision and that he “hated” seeing him go. Despite the Giants offering Barkley two contracts previously, he ultimately chose the Eagles, signing a three-year deal worth $46.76 million. The news that Barkley had chosen the Eagles came as a surprise, as the Giants did not make an offer to him this time in free agency.

Last offseason, the Giants had franchise-tagged Barkley while extending quarterback Daniel Jones, but after not reaching a new deal with Barkley, he ended up signing with the Eagles. Barkley’s contract with the Eagles has an annual average value of $12.583 million and includes $26 million guaranteed. Barkley acknowledged that he did not handle his goodbye to the Giants organization and fans properly, issuing an apology once his deal with the Eagles was official. He expressed gratitude to the Mara and Tisch families, as well as the Giants organization, and hoped that fans would respect his decision.

Mara was a supporter of the Giants’ decision to select Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Barkley had an impressive start to his career, breaking franchise records for scrimmage yards and earning two Pro Bowl nods. However, a major knee injury in 2020 cut his season short, and despite his return to form, the Giants were unable to come to terms with him on a new contract. Following Barkley’s departure, the Giants signed Devin Singletary to a three-year, $16.5 million contract as his replacement.

After learning that Barkley had signed with the Eagles, Mara and Giants fans were disappointed to see him join a division rival. Mara expressed his frustration with the situation at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, recalling how he texted Barkley his thoughts on the decision. Barkley’s move to the Eagles came as a surprise, as the Giants did not make an offer to him in free agency, instead opting to franchise tag him the previous year. Despite the disappointment, the Giants have moved on from Barkley and are focused on the upcoming season with Singletary as their new running back.

Barkley’s decision to join the Eagles was met with mixed reactions, with some criticizing him for the move. Barkley defended his choice, noting that he received more guaranteed money from the Eagles than he had been offered previously. He acknowledged that the NFL is a business and hoped that fans would understand his decision. Despite the emotions surrounding his departure from the Giants, Barkley expressed gratitude for his time with the team and the support he received from fans during his tenure with the franchise. Now, both Barkley and the Giants are looking ahead to the future as they move forward in their respective paths.

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