Headed into this offseason, one of the questions for the New York Giants will be how to judge Saquon Barkley. The Giants may have picked up Barkley’s fifth year option, but that doesn’t guarantee his long-term future with the team given his current performance levels. Barkley has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game in 2021, and his 2 touchdowns at this point in the season place him on track to finish with the lowest total of his career outside of last year where he was injured a couple games in.
Not all of that is Barkley’s fault, of course. The offensive line wasn’t as bad when he first arrived with the Giants, and he saw a heavier usage as he wasn’t coming back from injury at the time. That is part of the reason why Barkley’s rookie numbers, including 11 touchdowns, are so much higher.
But even if problems outside of Barkley’s control have influenced his performance, there will still be plenty of conversation this offseason about his future with the team. Barkley was, after all, drafted with the number two overall pick. That doesn’t come with an easy standard to live up to, and it’s hard to say Barkley has lived up to it since his rookie year.
What has Barkley himself said about his potential future?
It looks like Barkley himself isn’t in any rush to move on to a team with a better situation. According to him, his plans are to stay around and be a part of turning around the Giants’ current fates.
“I plan on being a big reason why we turn this thing around,” Barkley told the Associated Press. “Thatâ€™s just my mind-set, thatâ€™s my thought process. When I got drafted here, I said I want to be here for the rest of my life. I was born in New York, Iâ€™m from Pennsylvania. I live an hour and some change from my parentsâ€™ house. This is where I started my career, where I would love to finish my career. I know this thing is going to turn around and I would love to be a part of the reason it does.”
For now at least, any rumors about Barkley leaving New York aren’t going to come from Barkley’s own words.
With that being said, his future isn’t entirely in his own hands. The Giants are almost certainly going to have a new GM come 2022, and the decision of what to do with Barkley is a very relevant one in a future rebuild.
Of course, everyone would like to see Barkley bounce back and play like he did before injuries made a serious impact on his performance. But that may or may not happen, and it will be the job of a future GM to bet on one outcome or the other and act accordingly when it comes to a trade or offering a new contract.