It should be stipulated right at the outset that there are very few, if any, players that simply must be re-signed from a 6-11 team. The 2023 New York Giants had three separate losing streaks of at least three games for a reason. The roster lacked talent.

So, when players from said roster hit free agency, it's as simple as a handshake and a wave goodbye, right? Well, no.

Giants loss, Brian Daboll, Cowboys, Daniel Jones

There are three players headed for unrestricted free agency from last season's team that the Giants should prioritize bringing back. These players are at different stages of their careers, and their roles will not all look the same for next season's team.

But the Giants can look to last season, and the not-so-distant past, as guides for why these free agents should be welcomed back to MetLife Stadium. With apologies and all due respect to Adoree' Jackson and Sterling Shepard, let's dive into why each of these players is worth re-signing for New York.

S Xavier McKinney

Of the three Giants discussed in this article, McKinney will almost certainly be the most impactful on the field in 2024, especially relative to position.

McKinney is a homegrown above-average player at his position. His play has improved with each season, and he has been voted a team captain for two years running.

Best players Giants must re-sign in 2024 NFL free agency

The second-round pick out of Alabama was one of the NFL's best safeties this past season. Rate stats such as yards per completion, yards per target, and passer rating against all improved from last season, despite McKinney facing the most targets in coverage of his career.

While there might be concerns about McKinney's fit for next season as the Giants move from Wink Martindale to another defensive system, bringing him back should be an organizational goal. It signals to other drafted players that talent and production are rewarded in New York, and taking care of its own players bolsters a team's reputation around the league.

Durability is certainly a concern for a player who has only played two full seasons in four tries, but that might help the Giants keep the cost of a new contract down. McKinney is not a superstar, but he's solidly in the upper range of NFL safeties. He should be retained.

QB Tyrod Taylor

2023 might well go down as The Year of the Backup Quarterback. We've seen both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers make the playoffs despite starting multiple quarterbacks during the regular season.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts were able to remain in the postseason hunt until the end with their QB2s. And on the flipside, the New York Jets illustrated what happens when a team forgets to fill in the backup quarterback slot on the depth chart entirely.

All of that to say: the Giants should do what they can to bring back Tyrod Taylor for 2024.

Best players Giants must re-sign in 2024 NFL free agency

Taylor, in fact, made five starts this season and was pressed into meaningful duty in two other games. Big Blue went 2-3 in those starts, with Taylor throwing five touchdowns against three interceptions, an uncharacteristically high number for a QB that protected the ball fiercely in past seasons.

Whichever path the Giants pursue for their starting quarterback, Taylor as the next man up fits. If the team does intend to run it back with Daniel Jones, well, we've seen him struggle to stay healthy throughout his NFL career.

If the sixth pick of the 2024 NFL Draft is used on a signal caller, Taylor would make a fine mentor for the rookie. He could serve as both a de facto coach on the field while also providing meaningful competition during training camp. If coach Brian Daboll doesn't feel like the new guy is ready for Week 1, Taylor could credibly hold down the job for a few games.

Taylor's familiarity with Daboll's offense is a valuable asset, and makes him an ideal fit to return to the Giants' quarterback room in 2024.

RB Saquon Barkley 

The last entry on the list is probably the most controversial, and certainly the most complicated. But when remembering that football has a business side, bringing back Saquon makes a lot of sense for the New York Giants.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Let's start with the on field though. Barkley was 16th in rushing yards and 24th in yards from scrimmage in 2023. Christian McCaffrey he's not, but he's still productive a productive player.

With the way the running back market has played out in recent years, Barkley won't break the bank either. His production, coupled with a free agency that will not be causing any bidding wars, should allow for a reasonable deal for both sides.

And that's leaving out everything else about Barkley and the Giants. The owners adore him, and Barkley has served the team admirably as the face of the franchise. He's been a very good player and an even better team ambassador, something that's valued by the Giants.

It wasn't too long ago that New York's coaching staff erred when dealing with a franchise legend and benched Eli Manning during a lost 2017 season. The Giants haven't hit the same heights with Barkley that they did with Manning, obviously. But the running back has earned the right to be treated with respect by the team that drafted him.

Losing Barkley wouldn't ruin the Giants' chances in 2024, and having him back in their lineup wouldn't make them instant Super Bowl contenders. But after doing everything the team has asked of him, Barkley should be rewarded with a new deal if he wants to remain a Giant.