Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, but his future with the New York Giants is uncertain. According to a report by Jordan Raanan of ESPN, the Giants are not interested in signing Barkley to a long-term contract extension “at this point” and are waiting to see how he performs in 2023, the final year of his rookie deal.
Barkley was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft and had a sensational rookie season, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns and catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns.
He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl. However, his production and availability have declined since then due to injuries.
In 2019, Barkley missed three games with a high ankle sprain and finished with 1,003 rushing yards and six touchdowns and 52 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns. In 2020, he tore his ACL in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season.
In 2021, he missed four games with an ankle injury and a positive COVID-19 test and had career-lows in rushing yards (571), touchdowns (three), receptions (39) and receiving yards (253).
Barkley is set to earn $7.2 million in 2023 under the fifth-year option that the Giants exercised last year. The Giants could franchise tag him after that, but that would be a costly move for a running back who has not proven to be durable or consistent.
The Giants could also try to trade him before or during the 2023 season, but his value might not be very high given his injury history and contract situation.
The Giants are reportedly not willing to commit to Barkley long-term “at this point” because they want to see if he can return to his elite form and stay healthy in 2023.
They also have other pressing needs to address on their roster, such as quarterback, offensive line, pass rush and secondary. The Giants have not made the playoffs since 2016 and have had four consecutive losing seasons.
Barkley has said that he loves playing for the Giants and wants to be part of their turnaround. He has also expressed confidence in his ability to bounce back from his injuries and regain his status as one of the best running backs in the league.
However, he might have to do that on another team if the Giants decide to move on from him after 2023.
Final Thoughts: The Uncertain Future of Saquon Barkley with the Giants
Saquon Barkley’s future with the New York Giants is uncertain, and it’s not hard to see why. While he showed great promise in his rookie season, injuries have plagued him in the last couple of years, and he has struggled to perform at his best.
The Giants are reportedly not interested in signing him to a long-term contract extension “at this point,” and they want to see how he performs in 2023, the final year of his rookie deal.
It’s understandable that the Giants are hesitant to commit to Barkley long-term given his injury history and inconsistent play. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, he has not been able to stay on the field and produce consistently.
Moreover, the Giants have other pressing needs on their roster, and they need to address them to turn the team around.
At the same time, it’s clear that Barkley loves playing for the Giants and wants to be part of their turnaround. He has expressed confidence in his ability to bounce back from his injuries and regain his status as one of the best running backs in the league.
If he can do that in 2023, the Giants might be more inclined to keep him and sign him to a long-term extension.
However, if Barkley struggles again or gets injured, the Giants might decide to move on from him after 2023. They could trade him to another team, but his value might not be very high given his injury history and contract situation.
They could also let him walk in free agency, although that would be a bitter pill to swallow for both Barkley and the Giants fans who have grown to love him.
In the end, the uncertain future of Saquon Barkley with the Giants is a reflection of the NFL’s harsh reality. Injuries can derail even the most promising careers, and teams need to make tough decisions about whether to commit to players long-term.
While Barkley has shown great potential, the Giants are right to be cautious and wait to see how he performs in 2023 before deciding his fate.