The New York Giants watched one offensive playmaker after another fall by the wayside in a 44-20 loss to rivals the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL on Sunday. 

Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) were injured in the first quarter – though the latter continued to play through half-time – and quarterback Daniel Jones (concussion) went down late in the second period. 

Golladay, who has battled a series of lower-body injuries this year, said he hyperextended his knee in the opening quarter and tried to play through it but could not continue after the break. 

Initial reports indicated Barkley could end up missing the most time, with ESPN saying he is expected to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks with a sprained left ankle. 

Any extended absence would be a cruel setback for the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Week 2 last season. 

The injury to Jones may have been the most concerning to watch, however. 

The third-year quarterback was running the ball towards the goal line late in the first half when he lowered his head to meet oncoming Dallas defender Jabril Cox. 

The pair hit helmet-to-helmet as Jones was dragged down and the quarterback lay prone in the end zone for a few moments before getting up, but he was shaky on his feet and had to be helped off the field by medical personnel before being taken to the locker room on a cart. 

Giants head coach Joe Judge had little to share about Jones when he spoke to reporters after his team fell to 1-4 for the season.

"I'm not going to get into any medical diagnosis," Judge said. "I saw him in the locker room afterwards right there. Just checked on him

"In terms of where he'll go next week, I don't have an answer for you right now. We'll see where he goes. Obviously we're all hopeful that he'll be back and he'll be healthy."

Mike Glennon finished the game at quarterback, completing 16 of 25 passes (64 per cent) for 196 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. 

Jones has completed 66.7 per cent of his passes this year, with four touchdowns and just one interception. 

While he had no specific details to offer about the injured players, Judge said he was pleased that the Giants' backups stepped in and did what they could.

"We'll check on the status of the guys who left, see where they're at, I couldn't give you any answers in terms of next week at this point right now," he said. 

"But in terms of how our team responded, that's exactly what I expect. I expect whoever's in the game to play, I expect the entire team to come down here ready to go.

"I tell you guys all the time, whoever's at the game I expect to play and I expect to be productive."

The New York Giants have bolstered their roster with the signing of Pro Bowler Kenny Golladay, the NFL franchise announced.

Golladay – arguably the best wide receiver in this year's free agency – has reportedly signed a four-year contract worth $72million.

The 27-year-old spent his first four seasons with the Detroit Lions, where he earned Pro-Bowl selection in 2019.

Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown catches in 2019, while twice exceeding 1,000 receiving yards.

A third-round pick in 2017, Golladay was limited to just five games for the Lions in 2020 due to a hip flexor strain.

The Giants have struggled, missing the playoffs for four straight seasons, while they have only managed one postseason appearance – a Wild Card loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2016 – since 2012.

But Golladay is excited about the future, telling reporters on Saturday: "Just hearing the vision that coach Joe Judge had and [co-ordinator] Jason Garrett had as far as the offense, that had me right there.

"And just walking around the building, everybody greeting me and with them pretty much telling me that they wanted me here and I'm expressing the same thing. It was kind of like a no-brainer and I'm glad it worked out."

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will benefit most from Golladay's arrival in New York.

Jones ranked 19th for completions (280) last season, while he was 31st for completion percentage (62.5), 19th for passing yards (2,943), equal 29th for touchdowns (11) and 13th for interceptions (10).

His passer rating (80.4) was only good enough for 30th position among quarterbacks – Packers star and MVP Aaron Rodgers (121.5) topped the list.

On playing with Jones, Golladay added: "He just said how good of a player that he thought I was, and I pretty much said the same thing about him.

"He also just said, 'We're trying to do something great here,' and that's what I'm all about.

"He's still kind of fresh in the league a little bit and I kind of want to grow with him. I'm still growing as a player and I feel like me and him can do some good things.

"We haven't gotten on the practice field yet, but me and him both are very excited."

One of the most interesting offseasons in modern NFL history is on the horizon, with free agency set to begin next week.

Teams can negotiate with free agents from Monday, and franchises will be able to announce signings from Wednesday when the new league year begins.

The drop in salary cap, which is set at $182.5million, means many teams will have limited financial means with which to pursue their potential targets.

Yet there is a select group of players that will be able to command top dollar regardless of the economic challenges the coronavirus has presented.

Here we look at some of the players in that category by ranking the top 10 players set to hit the open market.

 

1. Shaquil Barrett - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With the Buccaneers franchising wide receiver Chris Godwin, Barrett is set to hit the open market and will earn a long overdue payday. Pivotal to Tampa's success in Super Bowl LV, only T.J. Watt (29.5) has more sacks over the last two seasons than Barrett's 27.5.

2. Trent Williams - San Francisco 49ers

It is extremely rare for left tackles of Williams' calibre to hit free agency. Williams would not be doing so had the Niners agreed not to franchise tag him. There have been positive noises about him re-signing with San Francisco, but Williams will likely command over $20million a year. He has not allowed more than 3.5 sacks since the 2014 season when he gave up six.

3. Kenny Golladay - Detroit Lions

Golladay was not franchised by the Lions following an injury-hit 2020, but that should not cloud what he did in his first three years in the league. One of the league's top big-play threats, Golladay's 33 receptions of 25 yards or more ranked fifth in the NFL between 2017 and 2019.

4. Aaron Jones - Green Bay Packers

That the Packers elected not to pay Jones $8million for one season on the franchise tag is not reflective of the running back's tremendous skill set. He has 43 touchdowns from scrimmage since entering the league in 2017, the eighth-most in the NFL in that time.

5. Carl Lawson - Cincinnati Bengals

One of the most underrated pass rushers on the market, the sack numbers have not quite been there for Lawson. He had only 5.5 last season but was tied-ninth in the NFL in hurries and knockdowns with 65.5. Lawson should flourish playing on a superior defense to that of Cincinnati.

6. Joe Thuney - New England Patriots

Franchised last year, Thuney could become the league's highest-paid guard and deservedly so. The picture of reliability, he has allowed just 1.5 sacks over the past three seasons in New England, playing in every regular season game.

7. Bud Dupree - Pittsburgh Steelers

Dupree has 19.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but his free agency value will be hurt by the torn ACL that brought his 2020 to a premature end. He has shown a nose for the football during his surge in production, Dupree's six forced fumbles from 2019-20 the fourth-highest total in that span.

8. Corey Linsley - Green Bay Packers

Linsley's pending free agency may have influenced the Packers' decision not to franchise Jones. They will surely make effort to bring the center back, Linsley having allowed one sack this season. For the second time in three seasons, he did not commit a single holding penalty and played a pivotal role in a rushing attack that finished eighth in yards per game.

9. Trey Hendrickson - New Orleans Saints

Hendrickson enjoyed a breakout year for a Saints team mired in salary cap hell. He won't be back in New Orleans, but should have no shortage of suitors at the age of 26 after finishing tied-second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks. 

10. Curtis Samuel - Carolina Panthers

Samuel perfectly fits an era where there is an increasing emphasis on wide receivers who can operate out of the backfield. He was second in rushing yards among wideouts with 200 and finished the year 11th in scrimmage yards per touch (8.9).

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