Giants: Saquon Barkley feels the need to ‘prove it’ in 2023

saquon barkley, new york giants
Jan 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants signed superstar RB Saquon Barkley to a one-year contract extension this offseason after failing to come to terms on a long-term deal. The Barkley contract negotiations were public and dramatic and ultimately ended in a peaceful resolution, albeit an undesired outcome for the 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

However, Barkley is not letting his lack of a long-term extension hold him back this season. Instead, Barkley is treating the 2023 season as a “prove-it” year.

Saquon Barkley is putting the contract negotiations in the past

Barkley recently spoke to reporters about the negotiation process and how he is moving on from the contract saga.

“Obviously, my contract stuff and everything was public and talked about,” Barkley said to reporters in front of his locker. “I would turn on the TV and I’m seeing myself being talked about. But for me, all that’s in the past.”

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Barkley feels the need to “prove it”

Most football fans probably feel like Giants running back Saquon Barkley has little left to prove. The two-time Pro Bowl talent is widely considered to be a top-five player in the league at his position. However, he was unable to land a contract with New York that pays him like one of the league’s top playmakers.

Now Barkley feels like his back is against and he has to “prove it” all over again in 2023.

“Like I said, once I made that mindset to come here, you’ve got to be mature about it. No hard feelings about it. So now, my back’s against the wall again. I’ve got to go out there and prove it. I’m going to go out there and play my heart out, compete at a high level and do what I do best, not only for myself, but for my teammates.”

Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

The Giants need Barkley to be as explosive as ever

Barkley has been the heart and soul of Big Blue for the last several seasons. Despite being held back by injuries from 2019 to 2021, Barkley has still managed to maintain his status as one of the league’s best rushers. In 2022, he helped power the Giants back to the playoffs, totaling a career-high 1,312 rushing yards to go along with his 10 touchdowns.

Barkley’s successful season directly led to greater success for his team. New York is looking to take that next step and fight their way back into the postseason in 2023. But in order for the Giants to achieve that goal, they will need Barkley to be as explosive as ever in his “prove-it” year.