Mike Francesa is ready for it to be his last season in town.
The WFAN legend indicated the Giants should move on from Barkley after 2022 while answering listener emails on his most-recent BetRivers podcast. Francesa said his stances is “not any indication on the the player” or driven by Barkley’s injury issues, but rather due to how the modern NFL works.
“The worst thing the Giants could ever do is place a premium on the running back position,” Francesa said. “The running back position in the NFL has been relegated to a position you want to be handled by multiple people, and be situational. You want to have two backs who are interchangeable and a third guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield, or if the second guy can be a really good target out of the backfield.
“You don’t want a back that you took as a high draft pick. You don’t want a back that is going to command a high salary. When you do that, you have strapped your team. The Giants went down that road and from Day 1, it was a mistake.”
Francesa said there are exceptions to the rule, such as the Titans’ Derrick Henry. But he does not believe Barkley is one of them. Some would argue a healthy Barkley could be an exception, especially if he has a big season in new head coach Brian Daboll’s offense (where he is expected to be featured as a receiver). But a lot has to happen for that to be a serious debate.
“The bottom line is you don’t want to make [running back] a premium on your team,” Francesa said. “You don’t want to build your team around a running back. It is very difficult to do. And if you do it, you’re usually not successful. It is a complementary position.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]