Giants' John Mara on Saquon Barkley extension: 'We're not in a hurry to do that'

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Scott Thompson
·2 min read
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Saquon Barkley on field with ball in hand, helmet off in blue jersey
Saquon Barkley on field with ball in hand, helmet off in blue jersey

Heading into the 2021 NFL season, all eyes will be on how the Giants perform after their free agent spending spree that landed players like Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. But what do those deals mean for players that need extensions, in particular Saquon Barkley?

The Giants, without question, picked up Barkley’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal. But considering he is already one of the top backs in the league, an extension is coming very soon for No. 26 – maybe even this season. Giants co-owner John Mara, though, doesn’t see the need to rush into those conversations with Barkley’s camp just yet.

“I certainly think we’re not in a hurry to do that,” he told reporters via Zoom on Wednesday. “We fully expect him to be as good as new. If anybody is going to spend 100 percent of his efforts to rehab, it’s going to be Saquon just knowing what type of motivation he has. But we’re not in any hurry to do that at this time, especially after the money we just spent.”

But rest assured, Mara repeated what he’s been saying about Barkley since the Giants drafted him second overall back in 2018.

“I said at the end of the season and I’ll say it again, we hope he’s going to be a Giant for life and at the appropriate time we’ll start those discussions.”

Mara has seen some special players walk out the door without a deal, though. Dalvin Tomlinson just did this season, as the Giants’ priority was Leonard Williams, which got done. A few years prior, it was Landon Collins, who was asking for too much and GM Dave Gettleman wasn’t willing to match the offer the then-Washington Redskins put on the table.

But Barkley is in a different class than those two given their second-round draft choices. The running back market has already been set by the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey, and because of Barkley’s production, that kind of money would likely be asked for by his team.

The Giants, however, need to make sure they’re positive Barkley can still be the bruising, dynamic back he was before his knee injury last season. As Mara said, he has faith he’ll return to the gridiron as good as new, but no one – not even Barkley – can know for sure before putting on pads and taking hits.

So Mara and the Giants will likely wait to see what Barkley does this season before those talks start, and the extra year on his current deal allows them to take their time. But Barkley’s extension will continue to be a topic of discussion, especially if he can prove to everyone that he’s back healthy being a menace in the backfield.