It was no surprise yesterday when the Giants exercised Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option to ensure the stand-out running back would play his first five years in the NFL in New York. But with the value the NFL now places on running backs, and Barkley’s ever growing injury history was it the wise move?
With all $7.2-million of Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option 100% guaranteed this was not a risk-free decision by the Giants senior brass, but it was the easier one. Choosing to move on from Barkley at this point in his career would also be a risk.
We’ve all seen what happened to Adrian Peterson once he left the Vikings. He still had loads left in the tank. And Barkley doesn’t have that many miles on the clock at this point. He’s 3.23 yards after contact per carry in 2019 were the seventh best in the league, and he was 12th in missed tackles forced (per PFF) despite ranking 18th in carries.
But Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option is a risk because over the last two seasons he has had major injuries. Last season he missed 14 games. This year the schedule is expanding to 17 games. Can Barkley stay fit for that many games or will he need to be rested at times?
SAQUON BARKLEYS 5TH-YEAR OPTION IS EXPENSIVE
Now don’t get me all wrong or get all up in your feelings on this. Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option makes perfect sense when you look at him on the field. Saquon is a beast, a total mismatch against every defender in the league. The issue is that he just doesn’t see the field enough.
For $7.2-million you are getting a difference maker, a player that every team would love to have. So at this point the gamble is probably worth it. But after back-to-back season ending injuries you have to wonder when not if the next injury will come.
Now that’s not always the case and exercising Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option may prove to be a master stroke. He may stay healthy for all seventeen games and set the league on fire on his way to a 2, 000-yard season. Or he may take up $7.2-million of the teams cap space and be sidelined a lot.
Of course that $7.2-million won’t all sit on the books if he goes on IR, but Saquon Barkleys 5th-year option means the Giants aren’t in the market for another feature back in 2022. Barkley is the man and he will get to proof that he can stay healthy.
If we’ve learned anything from Barkley in these three seasons it’s that he will give it 100%, and if his body doesn’t let him down he will be an absolute stud on the field. And with teams not able to stack the box as much with Daniel Jones new weapons, expect Barkley to go off big time.
When he’s on the field.