New Contract for Saquon Barkley?
While the implications above of a bounce-back for Barkley are overwhelmingly positive, there is one potential headache it may cause. The now fifth-year running back will be playing 2022 on his fifth-year option after it was picked up in 2021 by the previous regime. At this stage, it would be fair to assume a big contract extension is not in the cards for Barkley, with the previous two seasons representing a warning sign for Schoen and the front office.
A big 2022 for Barkley complicates the matter completely, however. A bounce-back would see Barkley have contributed at a top level in three of his five seasons in the league, and would also suggest he has completely moved on from his ACL injury in 2020. Complicating the matter further, the decision to sign a running back to a big second contract has rarely proven worthwhile for teams in recent years.
With the Giants in the first year of what could be a long rebuild, signing a running back to a big second contract ahead of 2023 may not be the most effective use of resources in New York. At the end of the day, a dominant Barkley in 2022 is a headache the Giants front office would likely be willing to accept in return for the production and excitement the 25-year-old can bring to East Rutherford.
Final thoughts on Saquon Barkley
While it is certainly interesting to speculate over the long-term implications of a successful 2022 for Barkley, it is likely not at the top of the Giants’ thoughts heading into the season. Having been one of the least exciting offenses in the league for some time now, all parties are likely laser-focused on how the fifth-year back can contribute to this team in 2022.
One thing is for certain – Barkley has shown he can be one of the league’s best running backs when he is in form. If he can prove this once again in 2022, he becomes one of, if not the most, important pieces of this NY Giants offense under the new regime in East Rutherford.