Friday, August 19, 2022

Saquon Barkley not worried about final year of rookie deal: ‘When the time comes, it is going to pay off’

Saquon Barkley is entering his fifth year in the NFL, which he even admitted is hard to believe. Barkley has been through aplenty in his short NFL career, from winning Offensive Rookie of the Year to injury after injury, the New York Giants running back has maintained positivity through it all. 

The Giants decided to exercise Barkley’s fifth-year rookie option, paying him $7,217,000 in 2022. After the year, the future is uncertain for the No. 2 overall pick. A long-term extension doesn’t appear to be on the table for Barkley — yet. 

“You can’t focus on that stuff. Obviously, that stuff is up in the air. I know that coming into Year 5, coming into my option year, my thing is just, like I keep saying if I take care of the little things and God blesses me, and nothing crazy happens, the rest will take care of itself,” Barkley said. “I know where I am at mentally, I know where I’m at physically. I know what I am capable of doing. 

“I just have to focus on taking care of my mind, my mental, and try to be the best teammate that I can be. That’s every single day. When the time comes, it is going to pay off.”

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Barkley has averaged just 3.46 yards per carry over the last two seasons, the worst among all NFL running backs with 150 attempts. He has 181 carries for 627 yards and two touchdowns, as the rushing yards are ranked 63rd in the league among running backs with at least 150 carries and the two touchdowns are tied for fewest in the NFL (out of 65 running backs). Barkley played just 15 of 33 games during that stretch. 

When Barkley won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, he rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns while having 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns. He led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,028, while averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 5.8 yards per touch. 

Barkley has 398 carries for 1,630 yards and eight touchdowns in the three seasons since, an average of 4.1 yards per carry. He has 99 catches for 761 yards and four receiving touchdowns. 

This is a big season for Barkley’s NFL future and he knows what’s at stake. 

“The last two years not going how I wanted. Everything happens for a reason; everything happens for a reason. So, the adversity, the injuries that were put in my way these last two years, God has a bigger plan and it’s all going to work out,” Barkley said. “So, coming up on this year, Year 5, for me I just want to, I just want to show the (New York) Giants that the guy that they drafted is still here. 

“I can still go out there and make the plays and help my team be successful. That’s the only thing I am focused on. Take care of myself, take care of my body, take care of my mental, and try to be the best teammate I can be.”

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