Giants co-owner John Mara spoke on Saquon Barkley’s future during his press conference with the media Wednesday afternoon.
“We hope he’s a Giant for life.”
Those were the words spoken by co-owner John Mara Wednesday in regard to Big Blue running back Saquon Barkley. Mara additionally said back in January that he expects Barkley to be a Giant “for a very long time,” making sure people recognize the organization’s love for its running back despite the numerous injuries that have plagued him the last two seasons.
However, at one point or another, extending his contract (which has just one year left on it) is going to ultimately become an issue, but Mara notes there’s no rush when it comes to that eventual (and difficult) task.
John Mara on Saquon Barkley: "We fully expect him to be as good as new."
NYG won't be in hurry to run to the negotiating table for a new deal, but repeats the sentiment on Saquon: "We hope he's a Giant for life."
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) March 31, 2021
And he’s right. There shouldn’t be any sort of hurry, because if the Giants are going to extend him, they must initially exercise the fifth-year option.
It’s clear Barkley’s going to be requesting a significant payday in a new deal, but the Giants could (and should) be reluctant to meet the financial needs right now based on his inability to return to his 2018 form the past two years.
It won’t be in the Giants’ best interest to extend him now before he proves he can remain healthy and on the field. It also won’t be a great situation for the team if it doesn’t extend him and he undergoes a superb year in 2021 prior to leaving in free agency.
The Giants need to meet in the middle of those two hypothetical scenarios. They must buy more time to eventually get a deal done should they eventually choose to retain him for the long-term future, and the safest way to do that would be to add that fifth season onto his rookie deal.
You can’t currently decide if he’s the future of the franchise at the running back position. Electing to keep him for another year would help the organization weigh its options.
It wouldn’t be totally cheap though. Having Barkley play on the fifth-year option (if it does get to that point in 2022) would lead to a $7.2 million cap hit for the Giants. Notable cap hits for that season will be Leonard Williams ($26.5 million) and Kenny Golladay ($21.2 million).