new york giants john mara saquon barkley
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

New York Giants co-owner John Mara expressed his desire for Saquon Barkley to remain a long-term piece of the team at a press conference Wednesday.

Saquon Barkley‘s contract: What to do…what to do.

The star running back is hoping to be back and better than ever, but after a torn ACL caused him to miss nearly the entire 2020 season, it’s unclear what may come about with his contract situation heading into year four. Do the New York Giants exercise his fifth-year option? Do they sign him to the type of long-term deal he may desire?

During his end-of-year press conference with the media Wednesday, Giants co-owner John Mara provided some sort of clarity on that eventual decision.

Sure, Barkley is a star and someone you’d want on the field every single down if he’s healthy. However, that’s unfortunately become a crucial “if.” Barkley missed 14 games this past year due to the torn ACL and sat for three games in 2019 after suffering a high-ankle sprain — a health-related setback that slowed him down for much of that season.

Amid the injuries, he hasn’t been the same player he was during his 2018 rookie season when he led the league with 2,028 scrimmage yards and earned the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

The opportunity for the Giants to break the bank on him is present, but it’s unclear if they will wish to spend the amount of money he might be requesting. Coming to a consensus on a cheaper deal is a possibility as well, but all of these hypotheticals are just possibilities at the moment.

The reality, however, is this: Barkley needs to come back stronger than ever in 2021 and prove he can remain on the field. He possesses the talent, don’t get me wrong, and with an improving offensive line, he could become even more of a star.

These injuries are an issue though, as they are with any other NFL player. If he is constantly missing time, a long-term contract may not be worth it.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.