Giants' Saquon Barkley: New Contract Will 'Take Care of Itself' If I Perform

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs the ball during an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Two years into his rookie contract, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley isn't worried about his next deal.

"I'm a big believer in taking care of the little things first," he said, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. "I'm going to be the best player and leader I can be. If I take care of that, the rest will take care of itself."

Barkley has still taken notice of what other running backs have done around the league, including Christian McCaffrey landing a four-year, $64 million deal. He also took note of Todd Gurley being cut by the Los Angeles Rams, which he said was "definitely shocking."

"That's just the NFL. It's a business," he added, per Vacchiano. "That's why you've got to take advantage of it when you can."

The No. 2 pick of the 2018 NFL draft has at least two years remaining on his current deal and the Giants can keep him through 2022 by exercising his fifth-year option.

There could still be urgency to get a new deal considering the limited shelf-life for NFL running backs.

Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million extension with the Rams in 2018, but he was released just two years later.

McCaffrey landed his new deal after his third year in the NFL, one where he was named first-team All-Pro. Ezekiel Elliott also secured an extension before the start of his fourth season, signing a six-year, $90 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

These examples put Barkley's timeframe for a new deal at some point next offseason.

It could put some pressure in the upcoming season after an injury-filled 2019 campaign. The Giants star was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 after totaling 2,028 yards from scrimmage, but an ankle injury limited him to 1,441 total yards in 13 games last year.

If he returns to full strength next season and reaches his potential, Barkley could help set the market as one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL.