No set timetable for return of injured Giants star Saquon Barkley as contract questions arise

Saquon Barkley Giants
Giants running back Saquon Barkley
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley still won’t commit to a timetable on when he could return to the backfield after tearing his ACL early last season when speaking with reporters this week. 

“I have no expectation, no set day of when I’m going to be a full go,” he said.

He certainly isn’t being rushed back, as the Giants are taking the cautious approach to the explosive runner who is one of the more dangerous playmakers in the NFL when healthy. 

“We are going to make sure that we take Saquon’s rehab at the correct rate for his individual body and injury,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said. “It’s not any mirror of anybody else’s injury out there. We have to make sure that we let him get it at his pace and put him on the field, can play 100% aggressive and confident and he’s going to play safe and he can play effectively.”

“There’s some things that I do that I know my rehabs are going really well,” Barkley added. “There’s some things that happen where you know you’ve got to do a little bit more work.”

The 24-year-old suffered the ACL injury in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign against the Chicago Bears after missing three games in 2019 with an ankle sprain that hindered his performance through chunks of the season.

A rather concerning injury history doesn’t necessarily help the standing of a running back in the NFL — whose shelf life of effectiveness is noticeably shorter than most other positions. While he’s been on the road to recovery, the Giants picked up his fifth-year option, ensuring he’ll be with the team through the 2022 season.
After that though, he’s a free agent, making the next two seasons vital for his future with the Giants and for his wallet. 

“When it comes to the contract situation, that’s something that’s not even crossing my mind,” Barkley said. “I have an amazing agent. Those are things that I have conversations with her about. But for me right now, the only thing I’m focusing on is coming here and working my butt off to get ready as soon as I can so when I’m out there.

“I’m not just 100%, I am 110% and I can perform to the best of my ability for my team.”

Barkley also indicated that he would not hold out if he didn’t get a new contract.

He has the backing of co-owner John Mara, who said that he wants the rusher to be a “Giant for life,” but those were similar sentiments conveyed about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was shipped off to the Cleveland Browns shortly after signing a five-year, $95 million pact.

Regardless, Mara’s comments didn’t go unnoticed by Barkley.

“That means a lot,” Barkley said. “This is the place that drafted me. It’s a special place to me. And it’s an honor and privilege to be able to put on the blue and white and come out as a Giant.”