The New York Giants are bringing their key figures back despite a disappointing season.
Head coach Joe Judge and quarterback Daniel Jones will still be with the team in 2022.
Likewise, the team picked up running back Saquon Barkley’s fifth-year option.
However, making such a move doesn’t make sense, given the former Penn State standout’s production this season.
After losing to the Eagles, the Giants are eliminated from playoff contention. pic.twitter.com/LEdxD7LcJr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 26, 2021
He’s producing like a backup though playing as a starter.
Unfortunately, he isn’t the same explosive runner after tearing his ACL last season.
It’s hard to see him wearing the Giants uniform beyond next year because of better options.
One Injury Changed Barkley’s Career
Barkley’s career trajectory might differ if he did not suffer that injury two games into the 2020 season.
There’s a good chance that the Giants would have already signed him to a massive contract extension if he stayed healthy.
He was on his way to becoming one of the league’s best during his first two seasons.
After a three-year stint with the Nittany Lions, he did not need an adjustment period before making an impact as a pro.
Saquon Barkley not making himself available to talk after the game (and day after) despite continual requests + leaving Mike Glennon, Jake Fromm and Devontae Booker to speak for struggling offense post-game is not ideal for a team captain. Blowing off responsibility. Bad look.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) December 27, 2021
He played every game during his first season, finishing with 1,307 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Barkley also contributed in the passing game with 741 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
A year later, he had another 1,000-yard season despite missing three games.
Sadly, things turned for the worst during his third NFL season.
Saquon Barkley is not a mascot. Mascots bring joy.
— Nick Alex (@nickalextweets) December 26, 2021
He only had six rushing yards on 15 carries in the Giants’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Then he tore his ACL a week later and missed the entire campaign.
He teased Giants fans when he finally scored his first rushing touchdown in two years and collected 94 all-purpose yards against the Atlanta Falcons.
But after another outstanding performance in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints, everything went south for the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
It’s been 2 years since Saquon Barkley has rushed for at least 100 yards. pic.twitter.com/35GhcA8tOg
— Hasty (@HastyHighlights) December 22, 2021
Since that game, he has added only 275 rushing yards on 78 attempts for an average of 3.5 yards per carry.
Worst, he has not had a rushing touchdown since the New Orleans game.
He had a receiving touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, but they still lost, 37-21.
Devontae Booker Looks Promising
It doesn’t make sense for the Giants to commit a long-term extension to Barkley for two reasons.
First, it’s hard to envision him returning to peak form even if the team upgrades its offensive line.
Second, Devontae Booker is delivering better numbers than him.
While the veteran from Utah also has two rushing touchdowns, he has 533 yards for a 4.5 yards per carry average.
DEVONTAE BOOKER BREAKS FREE
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) December 19, 2021
Booker also had a 74-yard game against the Dallas Cowboys and a 99-yard performance versus the Las Vegas Raiders.
He looks like a viable starter if given more opportunities.
He proved that he could be the featured back the Giants dearly missed during Barkley’s struggles throughout the season.
As for Barkley, he might thrive in a scenario wherein there is less pressure if things don’t work out.
Give. Devontae Booker. The ball.
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) December 26, 2021
He has one more year to prove that he’s worthy of a second contract.
But if he remains a disappointing player in decline, his career will be in jeopardy.NEXT: NFL Fans React To Joe Judge, Daniel Jones News