When it comes to value, New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley knows his worth as one of the top rushers in the league, but it was the game that he loves that led him to signing a one-year contract to report to training camp.
This is great news for Giants fans as Barkley is a vital part of the team’s success in 2023, but for the player himself, inking a contract almost equal to the franchise tag number meant much more. It gives Barkley a chance to prove the running back position has way more value, especially when it comes to his role in the Giants’ offense.
Saquon Barkley is the engine that makes the New York Giants offense go
Coming off a 2022 NFL season in which he rushed for over 1300 yards with 10 touchdowns, the All-Pro running back has lived up to expectations as the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Furthermore, he has shown he is a playmaker in the offense beyond running the rock as Barkley also hauled in 57 catches for 338 yards.
Worth a bigger contract? Absolutely.
But, with the declining market for NFL running backs, Saquon Barkley had thoughts about sitting out the season, but playing the game he loves was the ultimate driver of him signing the one-year deal that would earn him close to $11 million. It also provides him a chance to really showcase his value.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Barkley revealed what was in his heart.
"“I had an epiphany,” Barkley told reporters. “The reality of it is, one, I kind of just followed my heart. Honestly, I heard what everyone was saying in the news, on social media, but I kind of just followed my heart. And then you’ve got to look at it as a business point, from a business view. I felt like, what’s the best thing that I can do? Some people may agree or disagree with this. It’s a sit-out or sit-in, and I feel like for this year specifically, the best thing that I can do for myself would be coming back, going out there and play the game that I love, playing for my teammates, doing something that I wanted to do since I was a little kid.”"
In putting his teammate over his own contract situation, Saquon Barkley is showing his dedication to the game and the position he plays. Despite being disappointed that he and the team couldn’t come to a multi-year agreement, setting his team up for success will help drive that value back up.
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With the understanding that the Giants can use the franchise tag again following the 2023 NFL season, Barkley went on to say that his goal is to be the change in 2023. The change that will spark the value back up in a position that has been so important in the history of the game.
"“I understand,” Barkley said. “I know what’s going on with the running back situation and me being tagged, and the value of the running back continuing going down. The only way that I feel like that’s gonna change is someone’s gotta make a change, and God-willing, hopefully, I can be one of those people to do it.”"
As a big part of the Giants’ offense, Saquon Barkley is betting on himself as putting the spotlight back on the running backs who help drive the NFL.