Saquon Barkley

Latest On Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Giants running back Saquon Barkley will miss today’s matchup with the Raiders, the fourth straight game he will be forced to sit out after sustaining an ankle sprain in New York’s Week 5 loss to the Cowboys. The day after that game, head coach Joe Judge indicated that Barkley had avoided a serious injury and was considered week-to-week, but the fact that he has yet to return to the field suggests that his recovery has not gone particularly smoothly.

Indeed, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com says he heard several weeks ago that Barkley’s ankle was not healing as quickly as hoped (Twitter link). On Friday, Judge declined to say whether his RB1 had suffered a setback, and Barkley himself has not spoken to the media in about a month. The Giants are on a bye next week, so Barkley’s next chance to return to the field will be in Week 11 against the Bucs.

After a stellar rookie campaign that helped to justify GM Dave Gettleman‘s decision to make Barkley the No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 draft, things have not gone all that well for the Penn State product. An injury to his other ankle forced Barkley to miss three games in 2019, and though he still produced at a fairly high level that year, he admitted that the ailment nagged him for most of the season. Then, in 2020, ACL and MCL tears ended his season after just two games.

Despite all that, New York elected to exercise Barkley’s fifth-year option for 2022, so he will get one more chance to post a fully healthy year and to return to his 2018 form prior to becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency. In four-plus games in 2021, the 24-year-old has shown some flashes but has posted a mediocre 3.6 YPC average on 54 carries. He has caught 14 balls for 130 yards and has scored three total TDs.

In brighter news for Big Blue, WR Kenny Golladay is expected to play against the Raiders today. Golladay, the Giants’ top free agent acquisition this offseason, suffered a hyperextended knee in the same game that Barkley sustained his injury. As Raanan tweets, the knee has held up well in recent practices, and Golladay is set to return after a three-game absence.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/3/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

Giants’ Daniel Jones To Start In Week 6

FRIDAY: Jones cleared the protocol Friday. He is no longer on the Giants’ injury report and is set to make his return against the Rams this week.

The third-year quarterback will also have Sterling Shepard available. After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Shepard is good to go for Sunday. The injuries Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay sustained against Dallas will shelve them against Los Angeles, however. The team has listed Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton as questionable for Week 6. Toney managed three limited practices this week, making him a reasonable bet to play.

THURSDAY: Despite getting knocked out of last weekend’s loss to the Cowboys with a concussion, Daniel Jones could be on the field for Sunday’s game against the Rams. Coach Joe Judge told reporters that his starting QB is “on track with everything” as he looks to clear concussion protocol (via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan).

Jones completed five of his 13 pass attempts before exiting Sunday’s loss. Following a helmet-to-helmet hit, Jones stumbled off the field before getting carted to the locker room. Jones is currently in concussion protocol, and he was ruled out of practice on Wednesday. However, he was seen participating in work outs on a side field.

That would seemingly open the door to Jones clearing concussion protocol and playing on Sunday. Even if the QB doesn’t see the field this week at practice, Judge indicated that his starter could still be in the lineup against Los Angeles (per Raanan).

The former first-round pick has had an unremarkable start to the 2021 campaign, completing 64.3-percent of his passes for 1,282 yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception. He’s also added another 197 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. If the 24-year-old isn’t able to play this weekend, Mike Glennon would be under center for the Giants. The veteran made his first appearance of the season in Week 5, completing 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 196 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

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Injury Updates: Giants, Tunsil, Gronkowski

It sounds like Saquon Barkley avoided a serious injury. The Giants star running back is believed to have suffered a low-ankle sprain, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

The injury will knock him out of Sunday’s contest against the Rams, but he’ll otherwise be considered week-to-week. Earlier today, Giants head coach Joe Judge seemed to confirm that Barkley avoided a serious injury.

“In terms of the X-rays that came back, (it was) better news than it could’ve been for us,” Judge said (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). “[S]o it was a little bit of a sigh of relief with a couple of things just knowing the player and what he’s battled through.”

After being limited to only two games in 2020, Barkley had started each of New York’s first five games in 2021. The 24-year-old has collected 325 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 68 touches.

More injury notes from around the NFL:

  • One of Barkley’s teammates was also lucky. Giants wideout Kenny Golladay will miss Sunday’s game, but the free agent acquisition avoided a “major” injury, per Rapoport (on Twitter). There was a “major sigh of relief” following the diagnosis, which has since been confirmed as a hyperextended knee (via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Twitter). Golladay has disappointed to start his career in New York, hauling in only 17 receptions through five games.
  • Another Giants player wasn’t so lucky. Rookie Rodarius Williams tore his ACL against the Cowboys yesterday, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (via Twitter). The rookie sixth-round pick has seen time in all five games this season, collecting one tackle.
  • Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil suffered a torn UCL in his thumb during yesterday’s loss to the Patriots, reports Rapoport (via Twitter). The Pro Bowler will eventually need surgery, but the organization is hoping Tunsil can play through the injury and hold off surgery for the time being. The former first-round pick has missed at least one regular season game in each of his five full seasons.
  • Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski could end up playing on Thursday against the Eagles. Head coach Bruce Arians said Gronk is “very close” to returning to the field (per NFL.com). After collecting four touchdowns through his first three games of the season, the 32-year-old has missed the past two games while he recovered from a rib injury.

Giants’ Saquon Barkley Suffers Ankle Injury

Giants running back Saquon Barkley had to be carted off after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter on Sunday. Barkley was later ruled out for the game, along with quarterback Daniel Jones (concussion protocol) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee). 

Barkley’s left foot bent the wrong way after a collision with Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis. An overhead shot of the injury (Twitter link via Will Brinson of CBS Sports) showed severe swelling. That likely indicates a lateral inversion sprain, according to Dr. David J. Chao (on Twitter). Additional testing will confirm what Barkley is dealing with, but it sounds like he’ll miss a few games at minimum.

Jones was the next star to go after clashing helmets with linebacker Jabrill Cox. Mike Glennon stepped in for Jones, and he may get the call again next week if Jones needs additional time to recover. Now, Golladay has also been ruled out for the game, leaving the Giants offense severely shorthanded. Beyond those three, they’re already without wide receivers Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and Darius Slayton (also hamstring), plus left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot).

The Giants entered today’s game at 1-3, dead last in the NFC East.

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Saquon Barkley On Track For Week 1

The Giants’ cautious Saquon Barkley rehab plan is nearing completion, and after plenty of news about the running back’s timetable this offseason, he is moving toward playing in Week 1.

Barkley is trending toward suiting up against the Broncos next week, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. While the Giants will not decide on Barkley’s status until next week, no setbacks appear to have occurred.

The fourth-year back suffered his knee injury — ACL and MCL tears, along with meniscus damage — in Week 2 of last year, but he did not undergo surgery until late October. Since, the Giants launched a methodical recovery effort. Barkley met various checkpoints during training camp, going through seven-on-seven drills and joint practices ahead. He did not play in the preseason.

Ex-Bronco Devontae Booker may end up receiving more work against his former team and early in the season. Booker seeing more early-season touches has been rumored since May. It remains unclear when Barkley will resume a full workload, but after the uncertainty this offseason brought regarding his recovery, a Week 1 return would be a major win for all parties here.

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Giants Open To Saquon Barkley Extension During Season

Dave Gettleman has come around on the prospect of a Saquon Barkley extension in 2021. The fourth-year Giants GM is now open to the prospect of hammering out a deal with the fourth-year running back during the season.

Barkley became eligible for a new deal in January, but his knee rehab has obviously clouded such prospects. The former Offensive Rookie of the Year, however, continues to progress back to full strength. Should the 24-year-old back show his previous form, he would obviously make sense as an extension candidate.

I think that it depends upon the guy. I think it depends on where the team is at. I used to feel like it was a bad idea, but not so much [now],” Gettleman said of in-season extensions, via the New York Post’s Zach Braziller. “Have I changed my idea on that? Yes. I’m a lot more flexible on that.”

[RELATED: Barkley Not Focused On Next Contract] 

John Mara said in March the Giants were not in any hurry to extend Barkley, though the owner added he wanted the talented back to be a Giant for life. Barkley produced one of the best rookie seasons by a ball carrier in NFL history three years ago but suffered a high ankle sprain in 2019 and saw his September 2020 knee injury (ACL and MCL tears, with meniscus damage) stall his career. But Barkley came off the active/PUP list last week and went through his first seven-on-seven session Tuesday, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes. While Barkley is not slated to participate in team drills during the Giants’ joint practices with the Browns, the team’s cautious plan with its lead back is thus far working.

You need to see him back on the field producing, which we expect that to be the case. Our medical people feel very good about where he’s at right now,” Mara said. “I like what I’ve seen from him out on the field. Hopefully [an extension] will be an easy decision for us as well.”

Given his health history and the nature of the running back position, Barkley may want to lock in high-end money as soon as possible. Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin CookJoe Mixon and now Nick Chubb received extensions before their fourth seasons. Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones each signed after their fourth years. This group formed a new running back market, with average salaries ranging from $12-$16MM. And it appears the Giants are OK with Barkley joining this club in-season, provided he shows enough early in the campaign. Of course, Barkley completing a bounce-back year would set him up to potentially sign a market-topping extension in 2022. McCaffrey’s $16MM-per-year deal still leads the pack.

The Giants picking the Penn State product second overall would naturally make them eager to lock in a long-term partnership, and the cap being set to spike toward $210MM next year bodes well for extension candidates. Barkley is set to make just $850K in base salary this season, and his fifth-year option came in at only $7.22MM.

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Giants Remove Saquon Barkley From PUP List

Saquon Barkley‘s long path back toward his starring role in the Giants’ offense featured a key step Monday. The fourth-year running back is now off the Giants’ PUP list, returning to practice for the first time since his September 2020 knee injury.

The Giants have taken it slow with Barkley this year, and clarity from either side in this rehab process has been rare. But this marks an important designation. Barkley will not begin the season on the PUP list, which would have shelved him for six games.

Monday’s status change means the Pro Bowler will be eligible to suit up in Week 1, though it is uncertain if he will. Barkley again declined to confirm he will be in uniform when the Giants begin their regular season, staying on message.

Joe Judge said Barkley will be eased into practice action, indicating a return to 11-on-11 or even 7-on-7 work will not happen just yet. The second-year HC has said the team is taking a long-lens view at Barkley’s return from ACL and MCL tears. Barkley suffered the injury Sept. 18 but did not undergo surgery until Oct. 29. While many players have been full-go quicker in their respective returns from ACL tears, the Giants have stayed patient here.

The team has Devontae Booker in place as its top Barkley insurance option, and the former Broncos and Raiders back likely will see more time early in the season — as the Giants gradually reintegrate their starter. The team also has Corey Clement and the recently re-signed Alfred Morris on its roster.

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Latest On Saquon Barkley, Giants RBs

Saquon Barkley refuses to reveal his availability for the start of next season, and the Pro Bowl running back continued that trend today. Speaking to reporters, Barkley said he’s unsure if he’ll be good to go for Week 1.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Barkley said (via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan). “Taking it day by day. Just listening to my body. Whenever I’m able to get out there, just make sure I’m 110 percent. Not just for … my well-being, but just so I go out there and compete at a high level and show the world who Saquon is.”

The former second-overall pick has continued to rehab from his ACL injury, and previous reports indicated that he’ll be limited at the start of training camp. Barkley told reporters that he’s yet to talk with head coach Joe Judge about their August game plan, but the team isn’t expected to make him a full participant until at least halfway through the month.

The Giants are set to open the regular season against the Broncos on September 12, which will be nearly a year since Barkley suffered his torn ACL. It makes sense for both sides to be cautious as they manage the injury, but it’s not unrealistic to expect the running back on the field come Week 1.

Meanwhile, the Giants could be looking to add some extra depth as they prepare for a potential Barkley absence. The team worked out running backs Tyler Ervin and Mike Weber earlier today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The team also auditioned defensive back Jordyn Peters.

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