EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants open 2023 NFL training camp on Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
Biggest question: When will running back Saquon Barkley join the team?
It’s the topic that is going to hover over the Giants this summer. When is Barkley going to sign the franchise tag and report with his teammates? At this point, it seems unlikely until September. Since he has not signed the tender, Barkley cannot be fined for missing training camp and would lose money only if he holds out of regular-season games.
The opener is on Sept. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. In the meantime, everyone in the organization is going to be asked about Barkley’s absence. His contract situation is a legitimate threat to derail their season.
The most compelling position battle: Wide receiver
General manager Joe Schoen went with the strength by numbers approach. In free agency he added Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder and Jeff Smith. He re-signed Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, then drafted speedy Jalin Hyatt in the third round. Throw in Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, David Sills V and Collin Johnson (missed 2022 with a knee injury) and something has to give. Injury will play a major part.
What can Robinson and Shepard do this summer coming off of serious knee injuries? Can Johnson re-climb the depth chart? He likely would’ve started last season if not for the injury. How quickly the raw Hyatt progresses will also be something to monitor closely. The Giants brought him along slowly this spring.
Most impactful offseason addition: Darren Waller, TE
The Giants don’t have a true alpha No. 1 wide receiver. Their No. 1 receiver is expected to be Waller, who was acquired in a trade from the Las Vegas Raiders at the start of the new league year in March. Waller stood out this spring, immediately becoming a favorite of quarterback Daniel Jones.
The question with him is going to be: Can he stay healthy? Waller has played in just 20 of 34 games the past two seasons because of various injuries and is going to be 31 years old. Surely Daboll will have him on a light work plan this summer.
Training camp is a success if ... the Giants stay healthy
This is always the primary goal of any training camp, but it’s especially true for this group. The Giants were sixth-worst in the adjusted games lost metric in 2023 at 102.8, per Football Outsiders. Then they added Waller to the mix. Daboll made a habit of taking his foot off the pedal and emphasizing health last summer in his first season as head coach.
It’s hard to imagine him not doing much of the same this year with so many of his key players either coming off injuries or with an extensive injury history. This is priority No. 1 this summer: Get to the regular season intact.