Giants could be on the verge of losing star RB Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley
Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants are facing a critical decision that could shape the future of star running back Saquon Barkley. Once committed to spending his entire career with the Giants, Barkley’s aspirations may now be in jeopardy.

Saquon Barkley is open to playing for another team

In recent months, Barkley’s tone regarding his future has undergone a significant transformation. Following last season’s contract negotiations, which resulted in a modified franchise tag, the 26-year-old went from saying he wanted to retire as a Giant to expressing openness and a vision of potentially playing for a different team.

“Yeah, I mean it never crossed my mind until last year after I got tagged. Up until that moment, I really believe that I was gonna finish my career as a New York Giant. You know, that was a goal of mine. And that’s still in play. I have so much respect for the Mara family and the Tisch family and everyone in the Giants organization.”

“They know that but once you get to this point, you go to your contract negotiation and you go through the tag process, you realize how much of a business it is. And I remember vets always telling me this and you know I believed them, but you don’t really know something until you go through it. So could I see myself in another uniform? Yeah, it’s possible.”

Saquon Barkley told Complex Sports

Barkley comments on the undervaluation of the running back position

While a return to the Giants remains a possibility due to his profound respect for the organization, it is contingent on receiving a contract that he believes reflects his worth.

One potential avenue for the Giants to retain Barkley is utilizing the franchise tag, just as they did last offseason. However, the running back has been vocal in his dissent towards the option.

He strongly believes that running backs deserve suitable compensation, dismissing the notion that their value is limited or easily replaceable. Barkley emphasizes that within the right system, surrounded by talented players, any running back can excel and deserve proper recognition.

“I don’t agree that running backs don’t deserve the money. The trend is you can get a running back in the third round, fourth round, fifth round to have the same production. Running backs don’t last long. They get injured but that’s any position in the NFL. It’s not a matter of if you’re gonna get injured. It’s when you get injured. So it’s just a trend. You look at the recent backs that got bigger deals, Todd Gurley’s and Ezekiel Elliott’s, the injuries histories that came with that.

So now everybody is kind of like we can’t pay running back because you can get a guy like, De’Von Achane who’s a stud in the later rounds and come in and play really well, but they can do that for any position. That’s the problem. … It’s the NFL, you get the right coach, you get the right system and you get the right players around them, people are going to ball and the thing is everybody deserves to get paid.”

Saquon Barkley told Complex Sports

Barkley has Super Bowl aspirations; with the Giants or elsewhere

Barkley’s desire to establish a lasting legacy with the Giants is reminiscent of notable figures like Eli Manning and Michael Strahan. These iconic players managed to complete their entire careers without ever donning different colors. Barkley yearns for a similar journey but acknowledges that the path may now lead him elsewhere.

“It’s rare for a guy to be on one team his whole career. But would I love to be in the likes of Eli Manning, Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber? Yeah, but at the same time, I’m not naive and I’m not a fool anymore. I’m at ease that whatever happens, I would love for it to be done but if it can’t and I’m able to move on, I would love to go to a team where I can help them win the Super Bowl for sure.”

Saquon Barkley told Complex Sports

If Barkley ultimately decides to explore opportunities outside of the Giants organization, he would enter a competitive free-agent market. Barkley’s departure from New York could open doors to potential partnerships that might offer him both the compensation and success he desires.

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