saquon barkley giants
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Before the Giants slapped the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley — which led to a months-long contract drama — he said he wanted to be a Giant for life. But after getting a firsthand look at the business side of football, it’d be understandable if those feelings have changed.

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post asked Barkley that exact question recently. Giants fans will likely be happy to hear that feelings about his long-term future haven’t changed one bit:

Oh, yeah. I don’t think that really changed. They know how I feel. I’m not really too focused on that right now.

But surely the series of events that played out before he finally signed a one-year deal worth up to $11 million bothered him, right? Of course it did:

While he acknowledged “I’m human’’ and admitted “some of that stuff bothered me during the process,’’ his acceptance of a one-year deal worth up to $11 million that allowed him to report to his sixth NFL training camp on time came with no emotional strings attached. 

“Once I made the decision I was going to show up and I was going to be there and do my job, you got to put all that aside,’’ Barkley said. “Got to be mature about it.’’ 

In addition to speaking with his parents and other family members, Barkley revealed that he sought out and received counsel from his former coach at Penn State, James Franklin, before making peace with his financial reality. 

“We made a decision; you got to put it to the side; you got a job to take care of,’’ Barkley said. “I’m here, and I’m ready for the season.’’ 

This is the only mindset to have for Barkley ahead of the 2023 season. Not only is he playing on a one-year deal, but the contract he recently signed has incentives included that won’t be easy to attain.

In addition to getting $10.1 million guaranteed, New York is allowing Saquon Barkley to max his deal out at $11 million if can get 1,350 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns, and 65 receptions (each incentive is worth $300,000). However, as our own James Kratch noted, Barkley can only cash in on any if the Giants also make the playoffs.

So instead of worrying about his long-term future, his focus has to squarely be on what happens over the next 18 weeks.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.