saquon barkley
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Will Saquon Barkley stay in East Rutherford next year?

The 2022 whereabouts of Saquon Barkley are unknown.

The fourth-year Giants running back has struggled mightily this year and, from a skill and health standpoint, hasn’t returned to his sensational 2018 rookie-campaign form.

It’s still possible the organization moves off the former No. 2 overall draft pick in the offseason. This means the upcoming two games might be Barkley’s final performances in blue.

Is this something running through Saquon’s head as Week 17 approaches?

“No…I can’t control those things. I can’t control those. I can’t have that thought process,” he told the media Wednesday. “My thought process is come in every single day and try to be a leader I can for the team and try to get better physically, mentally and all the above. Like I said, with these last two games, especially coming up with Chicago, try to finish on a high note and play for each other.”

Where Barkley performs next season isn’t entirely his choice. But he apparently wants to remain where’s he currently located, additionally telling the media Wednesday he wishes to be a part of the franchise’s turnaround.

It’s heavily uncertain when a turnaround would even occur though. The Giants possess various holes in the roster and coaching staff, including at the quarterback and head coaching positions

Daniel Jones hasn’t proven to be the long-term answer under center and Joe Judge isn’t a legitimate head coach in this league, having gone 10-21 since he took the job.

Not to mention, the Giants still need a few pieces on the offensive line as well as another productive pass rusher to complement rookie edge rusher Azeez Ojulari.

A turnaround isn’t confirmed to be close — it could still be miles down the road, and Big Blue has hardly started the car.

Should the Giants part ways with their RB1?

Hindsight is always 20/20, sure. But it’s never been more clear that the Giants’ 2018 drafting of Barkley was the wrong move. The team has won just 19 total games in almost four seasons since his acquisition (he’s only been active for 10 of them).

Simply speaking, the selection of a running back that early in the draft proves a lack of knowledge in regard to positional value.

With a new general manager expected to replace Dave Gettleman in 2022, the Giants could take a different approach at the running back spot and move forward with Devontae Booker, Gary Brightwell, a cheap free-agent acquisition, and/or a rookie drafted in one of the middle rounds. If the Giants were to retain Saquon, he would be playing out the fifth year of his rookie contract, which would carry a cap hit of $7.217 million.

In the event New York actually looks to part ways with him, the team would need to find a trade partner since Barkley’s fifth-year salary is set to be fully guaranteed.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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