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3 New York Giants’ biggest concerns heading into training camp

We’re a month away from the New York Giants reporting to training camp to begin their second season under 2022 NFL Coach of the Year Brian Daboll.

After finishing last season 9-7-1 and upsetting the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card Round, there’s optimism that the team can be even better this season.

However, along with the optimism, there are a number of concerns surrounding the G-Men that could result in Big Blue taking a step back in 2023.

Here are the top three concerns hovering over the New York Giants heading into training camp.

Will Saquon Barkley be at training camp?

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Much of the headlines surrounding New York this offseason has been about the contract dilemma between the team and their star running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley received the franchise tag, which would pay him $10.1 million this season, but he’s seeking a multi-year deal instead and has yet to sign his franchise tender. Reports dating back to the 2022 bye week suggest the Giants offered him a contract that would pay up to $12-14 million annually. Those reports have since been refuted.

Still, the 26-year-old running back is disgruntled over the situation, and the fact that information was leaked to the media. Barkley even mentioned that he wouldn’t disregard the possibility of sitting out the season.

The team will report to training camp in the last week of July, but the deadline to work out a new deal with their Pro Bowl running back is July 17th. If a deal is not reached, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see Barkley on the field with his teammates when training camp opens. There’s plenty of time to get a deal done, but if negotiations continue to hit a snag, you have to wonder when the team will have its best player on the field.

Related: 3 New York Giants poised to have breakout seasons in 2023, including Kayvon Thibodeaux

Can Jalin Hyatt make an impact as a rookie?

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Having a deep threat at the receiver position has been sorely missing from the Giants for several years. Their inability to convert big plays out of the passing game is one of the reasons they’ve been unable to defeat their biggest rivals in the division, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

But the team believes they’ve solved that problem with third-round pick (73rd overall) in Jalin Hyatt.

Hyatt won the Biletnikoff Award in his final year in Tennessee after catching 67 passes for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. His best attribute is his ability to blow past defenders at the line of scrimmage.

There have been reports that the rookie receiver was off to a slow start during the spring practices. But to judge a player off OTAs and minicamp practices is premature, as those sessions are mostly about working on technique and building a rapport with your quarterback. We’ll be able to accurately access Hyatt in training camp and in the preseason.

Barring injuries, Hyatt isn’t likely to be a starter, but he will see significant playing time if he has a firm grasp of the offense. If he can be the downfield threat that Daniel Jones has been seeking for his entire career, he could be what the team needs to get over the hump in the NFC East. If the reports about him during the spring turn out to be true, then it will be an unproductive season for one of the fastest receivers in the league.

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How will the team replace Julian Love?

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The biggest loss New York suffered via free agency this offseason was losing defensive back Julian Love to the Seattle Seahawks. Love was the Swiss army knife in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme, as he led the team in tackles (124) and was tied for the team lead in interceptions with two.

His loss leaves a big void, and as of right now, it’s unclear who will start in his place.   

For most of OTAs and minicamp Bobby McCain and converted safety Nick McCloud took reps at strong safety with the first-team defense. However, the practice sessions in training camp are vastly more intense than the spring practices.

It will be interesting to see how McCain and McCloud fare starting next month and if another player will emerge this summer to fill the vacancy left by Love. It’s imperative whoever becomes the starter that they play up to the level that Love did if the team is going to have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2011-2012

Related: 2023 NFL defense rankings: Evaluating all 32 NFL teams before training camp