The Giants could face an interesting decision if Saquon Barkley has a comeback season

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley
USA Today

The New York Giants front office and new GM Joe Schoen did their best to assemble a competent offensive line for the 2022 season. Ultimately, they had plenty of draft capital but not enough financial flexibility to overhaul the unit entirely. They still managed to inject several quality players into positions of need.

Drafting Evan Neal with the 7th overall pick and signing Mark Glowinski, former Indianapolis Colts interior lineman — the Giants took a big step forward.

Neal is known for his physicality in the running game. He is a massive human being at 6’8″ and 345 pounds. He can move bodies at the line of scrimmage and get to the second level with his strength. On the other hand, Glowinski is an incredibly aggressive guard who features alpha male power. While pass protection is the key for Daniel Jones, running back, Saquon Barkley might have a brick wall of bodies to run behind this upcoming season.

Barkley is looking for a big 2022 season, coming off another injury-riddled campaign. The injuries have piled up since joining the NFL in 2018, stained by a torn ACL against the Chicago Bears in Week 2 of the 2020 season.

A list of Saquon Barkley’s injury history, via Draftsharks.com:

Sep 22, 2019 NFL Pedal Ankle Sprain Grade 2 He suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sep 20, 2020 NFL Knee ACL Tear Grade 3 Barkley suffered a torn ACL during the Week 2 contest at Chicago. His season was over after just two games.
Sep 20, 2020 NFL Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2 Barkley suffered an MCL strain during the Week 2 contest at Chicago.
Oct 10, 2021 NFL Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1 Barkley suffered a low-ankle injury in Week 5 contest against the Dallas Cowboys.

Last year, Barkley suffered an ankle sprain in Week 5 against Dallas, which hampered his ability for the remainder of the year. He will be looking to stay healthy for the first time since 2018, and running behind a better OL could contribute toward that.

The Giants need the rookie-version of Saquon Barkley:

Barkley put together a phenomenal performance during his rookie season, totaling over 2000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. He also posted a career-best 75.2% catch rate, hauling in 91 receptions for 721 yards. Barkley looked like a superstar, but the injury bug has completely derailed his career.

If Saquon manages to mount a magisterial comeback, the Giants could be put in a tough spot. General manager Joe Schoen doesn’t seem to have much stock in the running back position, especially with the Buffalo Bills utilizing a myriad of mid-round picks. The Bills currently feature Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and newly drafted RB James Cook out of Georgia.

The Giants were reportedly intrigued by Cook but went with Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky instead, offering them plenty of value as an extension to the running game and possessing intriguing receiving qualities.

Based on Schoen’s system in Buffalo, even if Barkley has a dominant 2022 season, it is very unlikely the Giants will extend him on a big contract. At this point, his injury history is simply too tumultuous, and guaranteeing millions of dollars to a player who has failed to stay on the football field would be a huge mistake.

However, another team would undoubtedly be willing to bite on Saquon, so his personal success would fare much better from a productive season.