NEW YORK (PIX11) — After an offseason of failed negotiations and a tumultuous 2-8 start to the season, frustrations appear to be boiling over for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. On Thursday, Barkley spoke out about his dissatisfaction with the organization regarding his long-term future.
“It’s just the way the business is … When it comes to contracts, or a certain time, when you’re a running back you have so many miles on your body. It’s a crazy thought process. I try my best not to think about it or I would go insane,” Barkley said.
The Giants drafted Barkley No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. When asked if loyalty to the Giants organization plays a role in negotiations, Barkley had a curt response.
“Loyalty means nothing. No matter how loyal, no matter how committed you are, it’s a business at the end of the day … The way I try to handle that is not really focus on that,” Barkley said.
Barkley is usually more reserved when speaking to the media; a team-oriented player who never brings attention to himself or the organization. But his irritation Thursday is not surprising. After Big Blue handed out contract extensions to Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence this past offseason, Barkley was the only one the Giants played hardball with. The two sides had several months of on-and-off conversations but could not come to an agreement.
New York elected to place the franchise tag on Barkley, and with no leverage after being tagged, Barkley eventually settled for a one-year, $10.1 million contract in July. At the end of the day, Barkley just wants the contract distractions gone.
“I feel like every week I have to answer a question about it … That’s the only time it crosses my mind,” Barkley said. “I try to keep the main thing the main thing, continue to enjoy the process and take it one day at a time.”
The question Giants general manager Joe Schoen and owner John Mara need to answer is this: what does loyalty mean to the Giants organization? Loyalty does not win football games, but it does send a message to the players in the locker room that the organization rewards performance on the field. At the same time, in a salary cap sport, you simply cannot keep every homegrown player; the math just doesn’t work out. But if not Barkley, a player who’s done everything you can ask for from a franchise corner piece, then who?
It’s not a question of if Barkley has earned a contract extension, he has. But if the Giants go elsewhere at the running back position in 2024-25, recent trends across the NFL tell you they’ll be OK. The G-Men can also use the franchise tag on Barkley again this upcoming offseason, but PIX11’s Joe Mauceri believes that will damage the relationship further.
With how the Giants season has gone so far, there are a lot of questions surrounding the long-term future of the team, with Barkley at the center of those conversations. This offseason will tell Giants fans a lot about how businesslike the organization will be going forward.
For the latest news on your favorite sports teams, tune in to NY SportsNation Nightly on PIX11 weeknights at 7 p.m.