Since being selected No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley has raised some eyebrows. With players such as Quenton Nelson, Josh Allen and Minkah Fitzpatrick still on the board, it’s understandable to question whether a running back should have been taken so high. In reality, a player such as SaQuads doesn’t come along often.
Recently, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman raised even more eyebrows by publicly stating they have a decision to make regarding the star running back’s future as a member of the team. We take a closer look at Gettleman’s comments and question whether he knows what he’s doing.
New York Giants have injury concerns regarding Saquon Barkley
With Barkley recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in 2020, Gettleman went on to insinuate there are some unknowns regarding the back’s health going forward.
“I think [his health] part of the discussion,” Gettleman told reporters this week, via NFL.com. “Obviously we’re gonna have to make a decision this spring whether we pick up his fifth-year option. But certainly, it’s unknown, and what you have to do is get your trainer and your doctors involved.”
I understand being concerned if the player we’re talking about is seen as frail or weak or had a long history of injuries to the same area, but this is Saquon Barkley we’re talking about here. A player with a specific nickname, recognizing him for his insanely large thighs. I don’t think there are any “real” injury concerns on this front.
In February, Barkley had this to say on the AP Football podcast regarding his road back to playing on Sundays (h/t BigBlueView):
“I’m doing really well in rehab,” Barkley said. “Very lucky to have a great team around me, great trainers, great doctors. Everyone has been very beneficial to me and very helpful to me. So whenever the opportunity I’m able to get back on the football field with my team, I’m definitely going to cherish that moment and I just honestly can’t wait for that day to happen soon.”
With the fifth-year option coming up on his rookie contract, it’s a no-brainer for the G-Men to pick up the final year. It shouldn’t even be a question. The only thing going through their minds should be, how much are we going to have to pay the man?
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Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has a history of botching negotiations
If this is just Gettlemans’s idea of a bluff or smokescreen, then he really needs to work on his game. It’s clear he is not known for being very savvy as a negotiator, admitting to not even calling other teams when the Odell Beckham Jr. trade was constructed. Instead, negotiating with just one of the other organizations who may have outbid the offer from the Browns.
Or when he reached to select Daniel Jones sixth overall instead of trying to trade down and collect more assets to turn his team into an actual contender. All of this screams laziness. That’s not expected from an NFL general manager who should generally be trying to maximize value with the assets given.
But not sure of whether he should pick up Barkley’s fifth-year option may be a new low. Especially when it’s a player he himself drafted. By the way, the amount of that fifth year? $7.2 million. That is way less than anything he should already be getting paid.
As one of the best young running backs in the NFL, a true superstar, Saquon Barkley should be in line to receive a contract extension that recognizes him as one of the game’s best. That’s even true after suffering a torn ACL a season ago.
But that’s not what appears to be on the horizon.
Instead, the GM who drafted him is publicly questioning whether Barkley should be paid what he’s already earned. This is not a good look, especially after New York Giants CEO John Mara said in January that he expects the star back “to be a Giant for a very long time”. Apparently, his general manager didn’t get the memo.
What’s next for Saquon Barkley and the G-Men?
Expect the New York Football Giants to promptly pick up Barkley’s fifth-year option in the spring, possibly even signing him to a new deal once they see him in camp. Assigning a fair value to a player who has played 17 games in the past two seasons may be tricky.
When healthy, there isn’t a decision-maker in the entire NFL who wouldn’t agree that Barkley is among the best in the league at his position.
As a rookie, Barkley tallied over 2,000 total yards — becoming part of an exclusive club that only includes Edgerrin James and Eric Dickerson. In 2019, Barkley followed that performance up with 1,441 yards from scrimmage in just 13 games.
It’s not his fault that Gettleman has surrounded him with a poor offensive line, a slowly developing quarterback and few other offensive weapons to draw attention away from Barkley’s touches.
Barkley has the right mindset, saying a long-term extension is the “least of my worries” as he continues to recover from major surgery.
If the Vikings were able to become contenders after selecting Adrian Peterson seventh overall , the Giants can do the same with Saquon Barkley. It just might require another general manager making the decision.