Moments after his team’s 38-7 loss to the Eagles on Saturday night, Saquon Barkley was asked about his future with the Giants heading into the offseason.
A former first-round pick, Barkley will become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 16. While he isn’t sure whether or not he will return to the team, the two-time Pro Bowl running back expressed optimism regarding his future with Big Blue.
“I can’t imagine this being my last time in a Giants uniform,” Barkley said after his team’s loss in the divisional round of the playoffs. via NFL Media.
Speaking to reporters Sunday as the Giants cleared out their lockers, Barkley was asked what kind of contract he’d be looking for in the offseason.
“I’m really not too concerned about resetting any markets,” Barkley said. “I’m realist. I know what he was on his way to, but having two years of injuries doesn’t help. But I think I was able to show the caliber of player that I am.”
The 2022 season was a big one for Barkley, who played at the Pro Bowl level after being dogged by injuries the previous two seasons. This season, Barkley rushed for his career-high 1,312 yards. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns and caught 57 passes for 338 yards in 16 regular-season games.
Barkley played an integral role in the Giants’ upset victory over the Vikings at Super Wild Card Weekend. He had two rushing touchdowns and totaled 109 all-purpose yards on 14 touches. Barkley has 82 yards on 11 touches against the Eagles. His 39-yard run helped set up the Giants’ lone touchdown.
“I wanted to show them that the guy they recruited is still here.” Barkley said. “I hope I did. Everyone knows I’d love to be a Giant for life, but I really can’t give 100% answers. Sometime this week, I’ll have a chat with my agent Kim and see what happens.”
Barkley certainly increased his market value last season. His market value is currently projected at $47.8 million over four years for an annual salary of just under $12 million annually, according to Spotrac. While that salary wouldn’t elevate his status among the league’s highest-paid running backs, it would make him the ninth running back to have a salary that pays him at least $10 million per season.
Christian McCaffrey currently sets the pace for all running backs with an average salary of just over $16 million. Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook complete the list of running backs earning $15 million a year. Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon are the only other running backs currently earning an average of at least $12 million per season. Barkley showed this season that when he’s healthy, his talent demands a similar compensation.
The Giants have the desired cap space should they decide to invest more in Barkley. The Giants currently have the third-most cap space in the NFL and the most in the ultra-competitive NFC East.