Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option

When healthy, Saquon Barkley is one of the NFL’s premier skill-position players. But the former No. 2 overall pick is coming off a season in which he suffered a torn ACL in Week 2. The Giants are factoring that into a key decision.

GM Dave Gettleman, who bypassed the team’s need for an Eli Manning successor by taking Barkley over the likes of Sam Darnold and Josh Allen three years ago, indicated team brass had yet to come to a final decision on the running back’s fifth-year option.

I think [his health] part of the discussion,” Gettleman said, via SNY. “Obviously we’re gonna have to make a decision this spring whether we pick up his fifth-year option. But certainly, it’s unknown, and what you have to do is get your trainer and your doctors involved.

Barkley’s draft class will be the first group of first-rounders eligible for fully guaranteed fifth-year options, which the new CBA mandates. Previous classes eligible for the option had their fifth-year salaries guaranteed for injury only, which allowed teams to cut bait ahead of Year 5 as long as the player passed a physical. That will not be an option going forward; the Giants have until May 3 to exercise Barkley’s option.

Barkley delivered historic rookie-year production in 2018 but suffered a high ankle sprain in 2019 and missed 14 games last season. While he is progressing well from the torn ACL, the Penn State product’s outlook is a bit less certain than it once was. New York not picking up Barkley’s option would make 2021 a contract year for Barkley. The team picked up Evan Engram‘s non-guaranteed option last year, and Engram has battled nagging injuries for much of his run. That points to the Giants picking up Barkley’s.

The option price is not yet known, since the new CBA introduced a multitiered setup that will involve to-be-determined franchise and transition tag costs. Barkley having made one Pro Bowl would make his option price equal to that of the running back transition tag. Kenyan Drake‘s transition tag came in at $8.5MM last year; anything in that neighborhood would be a bargain for the Giants, even with Barkley’s ACL rehab clouding his outlook slightly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (29)
newest oldest

29 comments on “Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option

  1. They’d be crazy if they didn’t pick up that option…they’re crazy for even suggesting that they may not pick it up. Of course, no one has ever accused Dave Gettleman of being intelligent so I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise

    • JOHNSmith2778

      Laying the foundation to devalue him in hopes of getting him to extend cheap(er) than expected.

      • dandan

        Just to watch another team pay him what he’s worth because the Giants thought they could lowball a top 2 RB.

        • jopeness

          Giants picked him 2nd in a draft with a few qbs. they know the value but its also a fact the injuries have created doubt. He is not a top 2 rb until a consistancy is there. I want nothing more than him to be healthy and succeed.

  2. Mich Man

    Is Dave Gettleman still the Giants GM? If so, why? Anything is possible with this guy, he traded JPP in his prime for a 3rd Rounder.

      • Perksy

        Still a productive player though. DG has done a lot more bad than good. His FA track record not great, and most of his early round picks not good.

        • andremets

          My only complaint with Gentleman is that he drafts for need when he likely could trade down and draft the exact same player. He can’t can’t squeeze any value out of his picks.

  3. dan55

    Even with the injuries he’s suffered, picking up the option is a no-brainer. Saquon is a top-three running back in the NFL when healthy.

  4. Mich Man

    JPP was 29 and he’s had 30.5 in the last 3 years with the Bucs. Those were most certainly prime years, no matter how many fingers he has.

    • erawk

      there was no reason to think he would regain his rookie form in his thirties. Gettleman was wrong…again

  5. Padresfan2313

    Man, Barkley is so good, but he’s played like 3 games over the past 2 seasons.

    • Littleman20

      Think you need to watch a little more his first 2 years he missed a total of 3 games and had little over 3,400 all purpose yards

  6. GabeOfThrones

    It is mind-bogglingly stupid to answer that question at all, but even more so to answer it such a murky way. Why would Barkley have any interest in signing an extension or resigning with the Giants now? He won’t be playing any football games before the decision has to be made. It’s a no-brainer. Are they trying to act like they’re doing him a favor by guaranteeing him a below market rate for next year before they see how his knee has healed? Gentleman is just too stupid to be an NFL GM. As a Cowboys fan, it’s one of the only things that gives me hope.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      You’re right, there is no need to answer that question. All he had to say is something like, “He’s an important part of this football team, we love having him here and obviously that’s something we’re going to be looking to do.” If it comes out later that there is a red flag on his physical, you can cross that bridge with some honesty then.

  7. bobtillman

    No need to question Gettleman’s first choice next month; an OT who’ll drastically underperform his pre-draft ranking. Wash, Rinse, Dry……

    • jopeness

      I liked Wirfs more, even before his great rookie season. however, we will see how Thomas grows this upcoming. I like his attitude 1000% more than Flowers. its not like the kid wants to underperform.

  8. MileHighFan

    Barkley is certainly flashy, but how many games did he really help the Giants win? Hint: The Giants actually won more games when he WASN’T playing.

    It cannot be ignored that he is terrible in pass protection, which in today’s NFL is a major drawback, notwithstanding the usual delayed return to form that routinely happens after an ACL injury.

    • GabeOfThrones

      So was it a terrible draft pick, then? Gettleman is an idiot either way. I don’t think he’s gotten a single move right. His ineptitude is staggering.

      • Ak185

        James Bradberry, Darius Slayton, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jabrill Peppers, Joe Judge…Gettleman has had a lot of failures and deserves criticism but the sheer amount of fan hatred for him is really overdone.

  9. jeb39999

    Gentleman still hurting from what Saquon did to his fantasy football team.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      In fantasy Gentlemen is that guy who drafts a Kicker with his first overall pick… and doesn’t even take the best one.

      • tonyinsingapore

        That’s not as easy as it looks – draft K with the most points prior year or most 50+ FG?

        Seriously, drafting and talent acquisition have been alright and no one would have been surprised had the Giants won a bunch more games. As for the coaching decisions, that’s an entirely different story – one of an anchor holding the ship back.

Leave a Reply