Giants’ Saquon Barkley ready to add another element to his game

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, saquon barkley
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are expecting the return of running back Saquon Barkley for the 2023 season, even as contract negotiations continue. Both parties have eight more days to finalize a potential extension, after which Barkley will face a tough choice: sitting out the 2023 season or playing under the $10.1 million franchise tag.

The Attractiveness of the Guaranteed Franchise Tag

Considering the instability of the running back position, taking the guaranteed $10.1 million appears to be the wise choice. After all, missing out on a prime year of his career is hardly the optimal route. General manager Joe Schoen seems reluctant to hand out a hefty extension to a position that has proven injury-prone over recent seasons.

Saquon Barkley: An Asset to the Offense

Regardless, it is undeniable that Barkley improves the team’s offense, whether through the running or passing game. Despite his abilities, the Giants have not utilized Barkley as much as a receiver in recent seasons. This is somewhat surprising, given that he posted 721 receiving yards and four touchdowns through the air during his rookie season in 2018.

Off-Season Focus: Improved Burst and Speed

Saquon has been diligently working this off-season to enhance his explosiveness and overall speed. According to his trainer, Nicholas Hill, Barkley’s efforts have paid off.

“One of the big goals for him is he wanted to get back his speed burst that he felt like he had his rookie year,” said Hill, who has trained Barkley at Exos, a private coaching company in Phoenix. “He feels like he is 100 percent from the knee injury, but there’s still that little bit of another gear that he felt like he was missing.”

Enhancing Skills in the Receiving Game

Barkley has been striving to enhance his abilities in the receiving game, focusing on his route running and speed. In 2022, Saquon achieved 338 receiving yards but did not score a touchdown, relying primarily on his ground production. He did, however, enjoy a career-high of 295 rushing attempts, resulting in 1312 yards and 10 scores.

“He definitely has that gear right now. The players did their throwing camp in Charlotte last week, and he said he’s never felt better or faster running routes,” Hill added.

The Question of Extension

Whether the Giants choose to extend Barkley’s contract remains uncertain. However, one thing is clear: Barkley’s strong rapport with Daniel Jones, and his potential to contribute to the passing game, could further increase his stock.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: