Why Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley could have a resurgence campaign in 2022

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

When the New York Giants drafted 6’8″, 345-pound offensive tackle Evan Neal out of Alabama, running back Saquon Barkley probably had a huge smile on his face.

During Neal’s top 30 visit several weeks ago, Barkley got a good look at just how big Neal was, even going as far as a note his behemoth size.

“Evan Neal, he’s a physical specimen,” Barkley said Tuesday, via the New York Daily News. “He came for the draft top-30 visit. All the draft people kinda were by my locker. He was there and I was like, oh my God, who is that?

Barkley has had the unfortunate challenge of running behind an incredibly poor New York Giants offensive line the past few seasons. Of course, Barkley’s injury history has not done him any favors, but Big Blue continues to rank in the bottom half of the NFL in run-blocking and pass-blocking.

New general manager Joe Schoen has done a tremendous job piecing together the line with draft picks and free-agent signings. The Giants didn’t have too much money to spend this off-season, but he still managed to inject three new potential starting players: Mark Glowinski, John Feliciano, and Max Garcia.

Glowinski and Feliciano seem to be instant starters, but mid-round draft pick Josh Ezeudu out of UNC could push Garcia and Shane Lemieux for starting snaps at left guard.

However, the impact of Neal at right tackle could be the most influential addition. Barkley was already visualizing running behind a human being of his size and athleticism just a few weeks ago.

“I saw him and was like I would not be mad if we would pick him up. I didn’t know he was gonna drop that far (to No. 7 overall), but great. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Barkley’s last electric season came back in 2018 when he was a rookie, putting up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. Since then, he has failed to get back to his previous form, but having already played a full season coming off an ACL tear, the expectation is that Saquon could finally experience a resurgence.

Looking at the individual players, the Giants added to their OL, Neal grades as a phenomenal run-blocking lineman. His physicality is unmatched, allowing him to move defenders at the line of scrimmage and open up gaps.

Glowinski struggled during the first half of the 2021 season, but in the second half, he performed admirably. He posted the second-best run-blocking grade of his entire career at 70.6, per PFF. The second half of the season saw him land in the 80s on multiple occasions as a run blocker, and coming from a dominant Indianapolis Colts team that features Jonathan Taylor, he clearly has an understanding of what a good scheme looks like.

While the OL is still far from established and settled in, Barkley should be excited about his new pieces in the trenches and what they can do for him in the running game.

Giants News: Tiki Barber drops a hot take on Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley retentions

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen has made every indication he plans to build around Daniel Jones for the 2022 season, but that strategy could change if he fails to make the necessary jump forward with his development. Schoen also stated that the team isn’t “shopping” Saquon Barkley, despite taking up $7.2 million in salary and offering little beyond the 2022 season unless extended on a big contract, which is unlikely.

You could make a strong argument that trading Barkley now is the best decision, but the Giants haven’t shown they are necessarily interested in executing that method. Barkley is coming off his third consecutive down season, dealing with multiple ankle injuries and a torn ACL in 2020.

The most logical reason behind keeping Barkley is to help prop up Jones in his development. Taking away a prime offensive player may do more damage than good, but that extra $7.2 million could be re-allocated toward the offensive line, which is a legitimate argument.

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber had a few hot takes regarding Barkley’s retention and building around Jones.

Barber dropped a few hot takes on his WFAN show “Tiki & Tierney,” stating:

“The reason I think they should try to trade Saquon is because if you’re going to zero to get your cap in order, just do it,” Barber said. “Don’t try to mitigate the pain by keeping a popular player here. If you’re resetting, it’s a new regime, new philosophy…go all in. if you’re doing this and it’s gonna be painful, you’ve got to just go all in.

Barber’s first take has a logical standpoint, especially when considering the salary cap situation the Giants are currently in. Schoen has spent every last penny trying to improve the roster without dipping below the salary cap, but with the 2022 NFL draft coming up, he will have to trade either James Bradberry or Barkley to sign his rookie class.

Barber didn’t stop at the idea of moving on from Barkley, also making the argument that if Daniel Jones isn’t going to be a top 10 quarterback, what is the point of continuing to build around him?

“If [Jones is] not gonna be a top-10 quarterback, then why are you worried about figuring him out and trying to get a little bit above average quarterback? He’s never gonna be a top 10, maybe he’s 15. Do you trust him to be like Eli [Manning] was? You trusted Eli because even if he was average, because if you got in a critical situation, he was showing up. You could count on that from Eli. Can you count on that from Daniel Jones?”

On paper, these both read as hot takes, but they’re legitimate questions the Giants have to answer this upcoming season. There is a realistic possibility that the team moves on from both offensive players next off-season, hitting the reset button fully.

Giants’ HC Brian Daboll defends Saquon Barkley over trade rumors

Brian Daboll, giants

This off-season, the New York Giants have been heavily connected to the trade market regarding two impact players — running back Saquon Barkley and cornerback James Bradberry.

The Giants don’t have much choice but to trade Bradberry, given the $11.7 million they can say from his contract, which would be allocated toward the team‘s rookie draft class this off-season. However, there is an argument that sending Barkley on his way is also a benefit, given the team likely won’t extend him on a big contract after this upcoming season.

Teams across the NFL have had tremendous success developing strong running schemes and injecting mid-round picks into the position. Unfortunately, having a luxury back like Saquon isn’t entirely necessary, but it seems as if management wants to keep him around for the sake of Daniel Jones’s development.

Barkley and Jones have been on the same roster for three seasons, but the running back has been injured for the majority of that time, tearing his ACL in 2020 and dealing with ankle injuries in 2021. The chemistry is something to note, though, and given Barkley’s electrifying athleticism, new head coach Brian Daboll likely wants to dabble with his capabilities.

The former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator came to the defense of Barkley, noting that he is a human first and deserves a bit of empathy while trade rumors circulate.

“When things come out, I try to stay on top of it,’’ Daboll said, via the NY Post. “I have kids that are 22 and 21 years old. They’re people first. It’s important to show a little empathy too to the guys in the situations they’re in. I know it’s a tough business but I think it’s a people business too.’’

Back in 2018, Barkley amassed over 2000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns, making him one of the best RBs in the NFL. Since then, his production has fallen off a cliff, and the injury bug has continuously taken hold. There is still hope he can return to his previous form, but he needs to provide consistency first.

With the new coaching staff developing an offensive scheme, utilizing Barkley would be exciting. The Giants failed to get the most out of him when he was on the field under the leadership of Jason Garrett, but given Daboll’s history and ability to extract value out of players, Saquon could be in for a great season.

Nonetheless, even if Barkley dominates, the Giants will have difficulty justifying a big contract extension. You can argue that trading him now and saving the $7.2 million would be more beneficial. General manager Joe Schoen already indicated the teams have called regarding Barkley’s status, so there is interest despite not shopping him around.

Giants received calls about Saquon Barkley, but GM Joe Schoen indicates his retention

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants need to clear about $10 million in salary space whether it be via trade or cutting players. Having enough money to sign their 2022 Draft Class is the priority, but it will force management to make a few difficult decisions. The expectation is that GM Joe Schoen will trade CB James Bradberry, clearing $11.7M in cap space, but running back Saquon Barkley also presents an opporunity.

Barkley has disappointed the past three years due to injury, sustaining multiple ankle ailments and an ACL tear in 2020, limiting him to just two games. The Giants would love to get the best version of Barkley, who amassed over 2,000 all-purpose yards during his electrifying rookie season. Is it realistic to expect that type of production after numerous significant injuries? Probably not, but the Giants can’t afford to be giving away play-makers if they truly belive Daniel Jones is “the guy.”

Schoen indicated on Monday that trading Barkley isn’t in the plans, but he has received calls from several teams regarding his availability.

“That was taken a little bit out of context at the combine. I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley,” Schoen said. “Everybody ran with that from the combine. I said I would listen if people called on any players. It would be irresponsible if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do every deal. So I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley.

The Giants haven’t been actively “shopping” Barkley, but that doesn’t mean they would stop a trade from going through if they were offered decent draft value. However, considering he was the No. 2 overall selection in 2018 and is capable of elite play, Schoen may be unwilling to give him up with one year left on his deal at $7.2 million unless it’s for a good return. Objectively, Barkley’s guaranteed cap hit isn’t exactly enticing for opposing teams.

“I’ve got calls about a few of our players. He’s one where a couple teams have reached out. But I’m not shopping Saquon Barkley.”

Even if Saquon returns to form and dominates this upcoming season, it’s extremely unlikely managements dishes out a multi-year deal worth big money for the injury-prone back. Overpaying running backs with a lot of baggage can be problematic, just ask the Dallas Cowboys who are being choked by Ezekiel Elliott’s deal.

Giants ‘not shopping’ Saquon Barkley, but here’s why they should be

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

There is no question that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL when healthy, but there is a keyword mixed in there, “health.”

Barkley battled injury after a magnificent rookie season back in 2018 when he recorded over 2000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns. Since then, he’s missed nearly an entire season due to a torn ACL and battled ankle injuries in 2019 and 2021.

Since Barkley was drafted, teams have refrained from taking running backs in the first round, which has proven to be a great strategy that plays into positional value and investing in high injury-probability skill players. One of the teams who ignored the strategy was the Kansas City Chiefs, who took Clyde Edwards-Helaire at the back end of the 1st. His value has been nothing short of disappointing, and he features on one of the best offenses in football.

The Giants are preparing to pay Barkley $7.2 million in guaranteed salary, a nice chunk of change they could use to sign their 2022 draft class or further bolster the offensive line. Having one of the worst past blocking and run blocking lines in football the last few years, having a back as talented as Barkley has become irrelevant. Even the quarterback position has stalled in growth and development because of poor protection.

However, when looking at Saquon and his value, there is almost no chance the Giants extend him on a big contract after the 2021 season. Even if Barkley dominates and proves, he’s one of the best players at his position, which is unlikely after three years of limiting injuries, investing big money at running back is considered malpractice.

If you look around the NFL, you can find teams that spend mid-round picks and second-rounders on RBs that provide significant value without torturing the team‘s cap space.

For example, Alvin Kamara, Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, and even Elijah Mitchell, a sixth-round pick last year, have provided more value than Barkley over the past few seasons. The point is, when you have a competent scheme and blocking upfront, it is not necessary to have a bewildering talent at the position.

Interestingly, Giants’ majority owner John Mara stated that the team wasn’t “shopping Barkley,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Again, it seems as if Mara has too much say in decisions that shouldn’t be his after years of losing.

If the Giants were being realistic about the current state of the roster and the ongoing rebuild, Barkley doesn’t have a future with the team. Extracting any value from the former 2nd overall pick would be a good move.

Essentially, it would be a salary dump to recoup a bit of money this season to help improve the roster. However, new general manager Joe Schoen seems more likely to trade James Bradberry, one of the team’s most consistent players, to clear salary space for their 2022 draft class.

Are Saquon Barkley’s days with the New York Giants numbered?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are in a period of roster rebuilding. New general manager Joe Schoen has released some players and restructured some contracts to get the Giants in a healthy financial situation ahead of the new league year. Schoen explained that tough decisions will be made this offseason. This statement rings true with trade rumors surrounding Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry. Another Giants Pro Bowler’s name has been brought up in various trade rumors, too. 2018 second overall draft pick Saquon Barkley could be next up on the chopping block.

The Giants are open to trading Saquon Barkley

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, there is a real chance that the Giants could end up trading running back Saquon Barkley.

“More and more, I’m getting the sense that Saquon Barkley won’t be on the Giants in 2022. The team is open to trading him, as GM Joe Schoen indicated at the combine. And while his $7.2 million salary isn’t the top target in New York’s cap-saving efforts, it would help. The Giants’ hope is that a contending team with a need for one more explosive player on offense (Buffalo or Arizona?) might offer a midround pick for Barkley.” – Dan Graziano of ESPN

Trading Saquon Barkley would clear $7,217,000 in salary cap space and bring alone $0 in dead cap penalties. Moving this contract would be huge for the Giants as they prepare for free agency. But, of course, it would come at a cost.

Saquon Barkley, when healthy, is viewed as one of the best running backs in the NFL. The 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year broke records in his first career season. But since then, it has been difficult to get Barkley on the field. Saquon has appeared in only 28 of 49 games over the last three years. Injuries to his ACL and ankle have made life difficult for the Giants’ elusive rusher.

Saquon stayed healthy for the majority of the 2021 season, but it was his worst to date. Barkley only rushed for 593 yards and two touchdowns with a 3.7 yards per attempt average. The Giants’ offense struggled as a whole, but Saquon did not stand out as the superstar he is supposed to be.

Trading Barkley would leave the Giants with a major hole on offense. They would likely field a mid-round pick in return but would struggle to replace the amount of star power that Saquon brings to the table. At his best, Saquon Barkley is a player that can total over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a season. This might be the most cost-effective decision for the Giants but it will only add another position to the long list of needs that Joe Schoen needs to address this offseason.

Giants’ asking price for Saquon Barkley ‘significant’, per report

saquon barkley, giants

The New York Giants have begun their exile of players as new management attempts to get below the salary cap, having started the off-season with -$12 million. Both Kyle Rudolph and Devontae Booker were released on Wednesday, saving the team approximately $7 million, bringing them closer to their goal but still far off from the $40 million Joe Schoen needs to operate smoothly.

Schoen indicated on Tuesday during the NFL Combine that he’s open to any deal regarding players, whether it be via trade or player-for-player swap. Specifically, regarding Saquon Barkley, the team has a big decision to make — keep him on a $7.2 million deal or trade him for draft capital now.

If Barkley ends up balling out in 2022, the Giants face a tough situation, since they don’t want to sign him to a lucrative deal given his injury history and positional value. That would suggest that the Giants’ best mode of action is to extract any value they can at this point in time, however, reports have indicated the asking price is “significant.”

According to Jordan Schultz, Schoen isn’t simply looking to dump his contract, he’s trying to get back the 1st round pick the Giants initially invested in him, which sounds outlandish. After amassing over 2,000 all-purpose yards during his rookie season, Barkley has failed to reach expectations, mainly due to injuries and porous offensive schematics/offensive line play.

Another team could bring the best out of Saquon, but spending $7.2 million on a player one year removed from an ACL tear is a risk. Nonetheless, a team that has the salary space and feels as though a premium running back is their missing piece to a championship could call on the Giants to provide.

Looking at the situation realistically, there’s no chance Schoen brings back a 1st rounder, but asking for a luxurious amount is a good negotiation tactic. If you were a Schoen and asked for a 3rd round pick for Barkley, you may get a 4th or 5th in return, but asking for a 1st, you could possibly extract a 3rd. It’s all about perceived value and presenting an argument for that price — however, anyone with half a brain could figure out Barkley in the final year of his rookie deal is not exactly a valuable asset for the long-term.

Giants News, 3/2: Joe Schoen leaves door open to trading Saquon Barkley, hits on salary cap health situation

new york giants, joe schoen

It is refreshing for New York Giants fans to see their general manager open up with a bit of honesty rather than staying quiet and behind the scenes while the team is destroyed from within. Former GM Dave Gettleman rarely spoke to the media, but when he did, he was bombarded with questions regarding his motives and decision-making.

In just the first few weeks of Joe Schoen’s employment with Big Blue, he has provided more truth and honesty to the media regarding the team’s salary space and how they will strategize around the rebuild.

At the NFL combine on Tuesday, Schoen made it clear that all players will be considered as trade pieces if other clubs look to inquire. The Giants don’t have the luxury of moving forward without making difficult decisions given the poor situation they face monetarily.

Schoen indicated that he would be willing to listen to offers for any player, even star running back Saquon Barkley, who was selected 2nd overall back in 2018, the same draft the Buffalo Bills landed Josh Allen just five picks later.

The New York Giants are looking to clear salary space:

“We’re still working through that, but I’m open to everything,” Schoen said. “Like whether it’s trading player for player; I’ll listen to anybody. If it’s trading a couple players — I’m not going to say the entire roster, [that] we’re open for business on the entire roster. But if anyone is going to call and they’re interested in any of our players. I’m certainly going to listen.

The Giants are currently -$12 million over the cap, meaning they will have to either cut or trade players to clear money this off-season.

“Again, we’re in a situation where unfortunately we have to get under the salary cap. We’re not in very good salary-cap health. Again, I’m not going to say yes to every deal, but I’m definitely going to listen and be open to the situations that are best for the New York Giants.”

Schoen has a competent plan that revolves around creating flexibility and building a foundation with youth players and veterans who won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Giants have big decision to make on Saquon Barkley: Save the money or let him play

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have some big decisions to make regarding leftover pieces from the Dave Gettleman regimen, specifically running back Saquon Barkley. As one of the more polarizing players on the team, Barkley is still fighting his way back from a completely restructured knee, struggling to regain footing during the 2021 season.

A poor offensive line and scheme didn’t help Barkley return to his former self, but the hiring of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen should promote a better unit entirely. A rebuilt offensive line, strength-based scheme, and modernized play-calling all aid in the potential of Barkley, but how much value does he really hold on his 5th-year option?

Before his rookie deal expires, Barkley has one final season, preparing to earn $7.2 million. The Giants could look for a trade partner to unload his salary and invest elsewhere, but it would leave a newly opened void at running back. The Giants have Devontae Booker and Gary Brightwell on the roster, but they don’t fit Daboll’s mold of versatile back who also serve as competent pass-catchers. Booker showed flashes of quality last season, so keeping him around isn’t the worst idea at a $3.1 million. The Giants can cut him and save $2.1 million, a healthy amount.

Joe Schoen has already had conversations with Barkley, remaining steadfast in his quality, but did mention the team would have to make tough decisions to add cap space.

“He was in the locker room yesterday, so I got to have a good conversation with him,” Schoen said, via SNY.tv. “I’m excited about Saquon. When he came out, he was a rare talent. I know he’s had some injuries, and that comes with that position. We talked a little bit about where we may need to upgrade. I think if you upgrade the offensive line, that’s gonna help Daniel [Jones]and it’s gonna help Saquon.”

Saving $7.2 million is significant when the team currently lies $12 million ‘under’ the cap. Schoen is looking to clear $40 million — saving from Barkley could pay for the entire rookie class this off-season.

“First off, we have to get underneath [the cap], we have to make some tough decisions here in the near future just to get in a place where we can sign draft picks and be below the cap,’’ Schoen said. “There’s a fine line, because you can’t purge.’’

Based on positional value, there’s a tiny, minuscule chance the Giants extend Barkley beyond this season, given his injury history. With that being the case, an argument could be made that trading Barkley now would add draft capital and funds toward the rebuild, but losing him may hurt the team’s chance at winning games next season.

From a pure business perspective, trading Barkley is the most efficient move and will offer the most return (under the assumption he’s likely gone after this season). In terms of winning games and being competitive, the offensive staff is likely excited to build a scheme that focuses on his strengths.

From my perspective, the Giants are better off keeping Barkley around for one simple reason: the draft capital they get back will be minimal at best. His contract will expire after the 2022 season anyway.

Maybe, the Giants can extract his best self and look to move him at the deadline for 2023 Draft capital.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley gives insight on infamous QB sneaks

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

There’s plays that stand out in every NFL season, but last season for the New York Giants, their most memorable plays were notable for the wrong reason. Those plays were the back to back quarterback sneaks that the offense ran against Washington, despite being backed up near their own end zone. Understandably, many were confused by what the Giants were doing and the moment was immediately mocked on social media.

Now, of course, the season is over and Joe Judge is out as head coach. These calls were just another thing that seemed to work against him when the time came to decide if he’d stay or go. They were an example of a coach trying not to lose, rather than doing something to win.

Now, we have a bit more on the reasoning behind those calls from someone that was in the huddle.

“So the week before, we played Chicago and we were in the same situation, and we couldn’t get out and we got a safety. So the idea was ‘quarterback sneak it’ just to give us space,” Saquon Barkley told Andy Nesbitt from For The Win.

Unlike some, Barkley doesn’t place all of the blame on the coaching staff. According to him, the players need to do more to make the staff comfortable with risk taking.

Last season, the Giants didn’t do that.

“A little bit on both sides to blame but I really hate pointing fingers at anyone. But, hey, we just gotta put on the pads and learn from it.”

Fortunately, there’s little chance of the Giants running the same plays next season. They have a new offensive coordinator, and unless something goes terribly wrong, things won’t get as desperate as last year.