Saquon Barkley on goals for next contract: ‘I’m not too concerned with resetting any markets, I’m realistic’

Moments after his team’s season-ending 38-7 loss to the Eagles on Saturday night, Saquon Barkley was asked about his future with the Giants heading into the offseason.

A former first-round pick, Barkley is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 16. While he isn’t sure whether or not he will be back with the team, the two-time Pro Bowl running back expressed optimism regarding his future with Big Blue.

“I can’t envision that being my last time in a Giants uniform,” Barkley said following his team’s divisional round playoff loss, via NFL Media.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday as the Giants were cleaning out their lockers, Barkley was asked what type of contract he would be looking for in the offseason.

“I’m not really too concerned with resetting any markets,” Barkley said. “I’m realistic. I know what I was on pace to do, but having two years of injuries doesn’t help. But I think I was able to show the caliber of player I am.”

The 2022 season was an important one for Barkley, who played at a Pro Bowl level after injuries dogged him during the previous two seasons. This season, Barkley ran for a career-high 1,312 yards. He also ran for 10 scores while catching 57 passes for 338 yards in 16 regular-season games.

Barkley played an integral role in the Giants’ upset win over the Vikings on Super Wild Card Weekend. He had two touchdowns on the ground while totaling 109 all-purpose yards on 14 touches. Barkley has 82 yards on 11 touches against the Eagles. His 39-yard run helped set up the Giants’ only touchdown.

“I wanted to show them the guy they drafted is still here,” Barkley said. “I hope I did that. Everyone knows I would love to be a Giant for life, but I really can’t give 100% answers. Sometime this week, I’ll have a conversation with my agent Kim and see what’s up.”

Barkley undoubtedly increased his market value this past season. His market value is currently projected at $47.8 million over four years for an annual salary of just under $12 million annually, according to Spotrac. While that salary would not elevate his status among the league’s highest-paid running backs, it would make him the ninth running back to command a salary that pays him at least $10 million per season.

Christian McCaffrey currently paces all running backs in average salary at just over $16 million. Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook round out the list of running backs who make $15 million annually. Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon are the only other running backs who currently average making at least $12 million per season. Barkley proved this season that, when healthy, his talent commands similar compensation.

The Giants have the desired cap space should they decide to further invest in Barkley. The Giants currently have the third-most cap space in the NFL and the most in the ultra-competitive NFC East.

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