Saquon Barkley in line to land massive contract extension, is he worth it?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants need to start thinking about Saquno Barkley’s next deal:

The New York Giants are nearing a significant decision on a contract extension for Saquon Barkley. Barkley is entering his third season in the NFL — next season could see him begin talks with executives on a potential long term deal.

Barkley posted 1307 rushing yards and 721 receiving yards in his rookie season two years ago. His 2028 yards from scrimmage were excellent and most expected an even better year in 2019. However, a high ankle sprain and a lack of offense of line efficiency significantly hurt his production. Despite missing three games and battling through injury the entire season, he posted 1441 yards from scrimmage. He also reached pay dirt seven fewer times.

Dan Duggan of The Athletic reports that a potential extension for Barkley could be ginormous. Compared to Christian McCaffrey and Le’Veon Bell, Barkley will eclipse both running backs in terms of money per season.

“I don’t think the Giants can escape a monster contract unless Barkley has a poor year,” [Over the Cap’s Jason] Fitzgerald said. “Christian McCaffrey getting a monster contract with Carolina pretty much sets the stage that Barkley will be the highest-paid running back.”

Projected contract: 4 years, $70 million

I believe this relies on an extremely productive 2020 campaign, considering Christian McCaffrey at 23 years old posted 2392 total yards last year. He also reached the end zone 19 times with an 81.7% catch rate. He made Saquon’s rookie season look like an average one, which means the Giants need to see much more from their star back if he wishes to land upwards of $17 million per season.

In McCaffrey’s most profitable year, he’s only earning $16.3 million per season. The Giants desperately need to see a first-team All-Pro level player in Barkley next season. Ultimately, it boils down to the offensive line and if Daniel Jones can improve on his 2019 statistics. Plenty of factors play into his success, but he has shown he can supplement those weaknesses on the line at times with breath-taking explosiveness and excitement.

The big question is: Is signing Barkley to a deal this big worth it?

Based on the production of other running backs in the league, paying him over $17 million per season is not worth it by any means. However, if he can replicate McCaffrey’s ROI and essentially carry the offense, you can justify it to a degree. It all depends on how he performs in 2020/21.

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