Giants ‘not shopping’ Saquon Barkley, but here’s why they should be

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

There is no question that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL when healthy, but there is a keyword mixed in there, “health.”

Barkley battled injury after a magnificent rookie season back in 2018 when he recorded over 2000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. Since then, he’s missed nearly an entire season due to a torn ACL and battled ankle injuries in 2019 and 2021.

Since Barkley was drafted, teams have refrained from taking running backs in the first round, which has proven to be a great strategy that plays into positional value and investing in high injury-probability skill players. One of the teams who ignored the strategy was the Kansas City Chiefs, who took Clyde Edwards-Helaire at the back end of the 1st. His value has been nothing short of disappointing, and he features on one of the best offenses in football.

The Giants are preparing to pay Barkley $7.2 million in guaranteed salary, a nice chunk of change they could use to sign their 2022 draft class or further bolster the offensive line. Having one of the worst past blocking and run blocking lines in football the last few years, having a back as talented as Barkley has become irrelevant. Even the quarterback position has stalled in growth and development because of poor protection.

However, when looking at Saquon and his value, there is almost no chance the Giants extend him on a big contract after the 2021 season. Even if Barkley dominates and proves, he’s one of the best players at his position, which is unlikely after three years of limiting injuries, investing big money at running back is considered malpractice.

If you look around the NFL, you can find teams that spend mid-round picks and second-rounders on RBs that provide significant value without torturing the team‘s cap space.

For example, Alvin Kamara, Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, and even Elijah Mitchell, a sixth-round pick last year, have provided more value than Barkley over the past few seasons. The point is, when you have a competent scheme and blocking upfront, it is not necessary to have a bewildering talent at the position.

Interestingly, Giants’ majority owner John Mara stated that the team wasn’t “shopping Barkley,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Again, it seems as if Mara has too much say in decisions that shouldn’t be his after years of losing.

If the Giants were being realistic about the current state of the roster and the ongoing rebuild, Barkley doesn’t have a future with the team. Extracting any value from the former 2nd overall pick would be a good move.

Essentially, it would be a salary dump to recoup a bit of money this season to help improve the roster. However, new general manager Joe Schoen seems more likely to trade James Bradberry, one of the team’s most consistent players, to clear salary space for their 2022 draft class.