The New York Giants face a decisive game this coming Sunday, just before the NFL trade deadline on October 31. A loss to the Jets might prompt Big Blue to consider offloading veterans with expiring contracts. However, one player not on the trading block is star running back Saquon Barkley.
Barkley’s Commitment Amid Challenges
Choosing loyalty over conflict, Barkley agreed to a one-year contract with the Giants this season, avoiding a holdout or forced trade. Despite this commitment, an early-season injury sidelined him for several weeks, underscoring the inherent risks of long-term investment in running backs.
Giants’ Unwavering Faith in Barkley’s Role
The Giants, eyeing a playoff return—a notion growing increasingly remote—are not entertaining the idea of trading Barkley. In the four games played this season, he’s clocked 284 rushing yards, 87 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. Yet, his average yards per attempt dipped from last year’s 4.4 to 3.8, a decline partly attributable to an injury-plagued, inconsistent offensive line affecting both running and passing plays.
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Offensive Dilemmas and Barkley’s Value
Running an offense heavily reliant on a running back has its drawbacks, as the Giants are learning. With the passing game struggling, the team recognizes Barkley’s crucial role. Head coach Brian Daboll reaffirmed this stance on Wednesday, emphasizing that Barkley remains integral to the team’s plans despite swirling trade rumors.
Franchise Considerations and Financial Implications
Some argue the Giants should consider trading Barkley for draft assets. Retaining him likely means leveraging the franchise tag again in 2024, committing to a hefty, fully guaranteed salary. However, Barkley’s ability to diversify the Giants’ offense and alleviate pressure on the quarterback makes parting ways with him a complex issue.
Crunch Time: A Must-Win Game Against the Jets
The immediate focus is on clinching a victory against the Jets, keeping playoff aspirations faintly alive. Failing that, the Giants might pivot to trading other veteran players, signaling a shift in strategy and potential rebuilding. However, regardless of the path forward, Saquon Barkley appears central to the Giants’ plans, both immediate and future.