Saquon Barkley on uncertain Giants future: ‘It was a fun six years’

As the final seconds ticked away on Sunday evening, reality began to set in for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

The former first-round pick stood back and watched as his close friend, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, said his goodbyes. It was likely his final game as a Giant and, potentially, his last game in the NFL.

“He epitomizes what it means to be a Giant,” Barkley said of Shepard. “That’s my brother, man. It’s deeper than football with me and him. He’s kind of like a big brother to me. We’ve got a lot in common, our kids are best friends.”

But it wasn’t just Shepard’s future that crossed Barkley’s mind.

Although he’d like to brush it off and pretend he wasn’t thinking about it, Barkley recognized that Sunday’s dominant victory over the Eagles could have been his last game with the Giants, too. And if it was, it’s been a fun ride.

“If it is my last game, playing here, if it is, it was a fun six years,” Barkley said. “Made a lot of great memories, but it’s not like the last time I’m ever playing football. I can’t control that, so I’m not letting my emotions. If I knew that it was my last game, I probably would feel a little different but like I said, I have no idea.”

Barkley is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March and could be a franchise tag option once again, but that’s something he’d like to avoid. And at 120% of his 2023 salary, it’s probably something general manager Joe Schoen would also like to avoid.

That creates a precarious situation given that the Giants refused to bow to Barkley’s contract demands a year ago. Now he’s got another year of wear and tear on him, dealt with an injury, and finished the year with under 1,000 yards.

But that’s something to worry about down the line, Barkley says. For now, he just wants to enjoy a season-ending win over the Eagles and finally getting that monkey off his back.

“We didn’t have the season we want, but we were able to control this last game and how we go out and we all made up in our mind that we wanted to go out on top with a win and we were able to get that,” Barkley said.

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire