After this weekend, Saquon Barkley will find himself in the same situation he was in during last year’s offseason.
The New York Giants wrap up their season against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, and without a contract, Barkley understands the “possibility” it could be his last game with the G-Men.
Barkley and the Giants discussed, but could not agree on, a long-term deal last year. He played with the franchise tag this season.
The sixth-year running back will be a free agent after the season.
Barkley can be designated with the franchise tag a second time, but he wants to avoid that and remain a Giant.
“I’ve mentioned before that I want to be a Giant for life. That was a goal of mine when I got drafted,” Barkley said Wednesday, via ESPN. “I wanted to leave a legacy here.
“But it’s out of my control.”
Barkley said that if the Giants don’t tag him and aren’t willing to give him what he wants, he’s going to explore the free agent market.
“I just want something that is fair. … But, like I said, I get it. It’s a business. If it’s not here, hopefully it’s some other place,” he said.
The running back market has plummeted in recent years, prompting Barkley and other star running backs to meet via Zoom earlier this year to discuss ways to combat their declining demand.
“I do know that if I’m going to strike, I have to do it now. This is really probably my last opportunity to get a second deal,” Barkley said. “After that, the way they view running backs and treat running backs, it’s not really ideal if you’re looking at it that way. I would definitely love to get a second deal.”
For the fourth time in five seasons, Barkley missed multiple games to injury. This year, he suffered a high ankle sprain after getting tackled in Week 2 and missed three games. He missed Week 18 last year for rest but missed four games with an ankle injury in 2021, and he tore his ACL in Week 2 of 2020. He missed three games in 2019 with another ankle injury.
The second pick of the 2018 NFL Draft needs 84 yards on the ground for his fourth season of at least 1,000 rushing yards. He’s found the end zone eight times this year and is averaging 4 yards per carry behind arguably the worst offensive line in football.
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