saquon barkley giants
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley is looking to return better than ever after an ACL tear prematurely concluded his 2020 campaign.

There are many components of the pending 2021 season New York Giants fans should look forward to.

Kenny Golladay is in town, Kadarius Toney is expected to add versatility to the offense, Leonard Williams will be playing on a new three-year deal, and Daniel Jones may take that significant leap in year three.

Oh, and Saquon Barkley is returning from a September 2020 ACL tear — but it’s not exactly clear when that will be occurring.

Will the 2018 first-round pick commence the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list?

“Those are conversations I actually haven’t had yet with the trainers and with the coaches,” Barkley told “The Rich Eisen Show” Thursday. “The focus is to take it one day at a time and kind of go with the flow and listen to your body and listen to your team and listen to the trainers.”

Saquon seemingly isn’t going to give anyone a definite answer just yet. The eventual return is in the process and we still have over two months until the team’s Week 1 matchup with the Denver Broncos.

The obvious hope is that he’s good to go once the regular season arrives. But in the event he isn’t, the Giants will likely start Devontae Booker at the running back position.

Big Blue inked Booker to a two-year deal during this offseason’s free agency period.

Looking further down the road

Regardless of when he returns, Saquon’s long-term future with the team is still unclear.

He’s eligible for a long-term extension, but instead of signing him to one this offseason, the Giants exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract — the correct move.

It wouldn’t have been right for the Giants to make a potentially historic investment in Barkley after he missed 14 games in 2020 and three the year prior.

However, you also don’t want to allow this coming season to be the final one of his four-year rookie deal, have him undergo a sensational campaign, and then risk him leaving in next year’s free agency period.

The Giants needed to provide themselves with the longest amount of time possible to evaluate him and thus make the right decision.

That’s exactly what they did.

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