The start of the 2022 regular season has been quite polarizing for a lot of premium-level players. Notably, quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have had spotty beginnings, but one consistent player since Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans has been New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
It is not normal for a running back to win the MVP of the league, more-so Offensive Player of the Year. However, Barkley is on a campaign justifiable of both if he continues capitalizing on his momentum. The 25-year-old running back is coming off several seasons of injury-riddled play, but he’s well on his way to reaching the highs he experienced back in 2018 when he was a Pro Bowler.
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The New York Giants are seeing the best of Saquon Barkley again:
Showcasing resiliency and toughness, Barkley has already amassed 533 rushing yards and 143 receiving yards across five games, including three touchdowns.
Barkley’s teammates acknowledge his quality, specifically the spark he brings to an offense that is currently decimated by injury.
“There’s no doubt what he brings to our offense any time he is on the field is special and unique,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “To have him back at that point in the game was a little bit of a lift for us. That was big time.”
Even though Barkley has drawn excessive attention from opposing defenses, they simply can’t find ways to stop him. Even after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s win, Barkley immediately injected himself back into the equation and refused to back down, ripping off a massive gain down the left sideline on his first touch back in action.
At this point in time, Barkley’s making a lot of money for himself in the future, and the Giants may not be willing to let a player of his magnitude go if he continues excelling at this rate. In fact, the more likely scenario is the Giants slap him with the franchise tag, which would retain him for the 2023 season.
Given general manager, Joe Schoen is coming from a Buffalo Bills organization that doesn’t value running backs that much, he may have to make an exception for Saquon, who is obviously a different breed of player when healthy. Just his presence alone draws so much attention that it opens up the offense for quarterback Daniel Jones and a slew of backup receivers.
If not for the incredible statistics he’s putting on paper, the mental component he brings, and the attention he warrants from opposing defenses represents a metric that is impossible to measure.