Former Giants Player Lawrence Tynes Shockingly Urges Joe Judge to Bench Saquon Barkley: ‘He Needs to Send a Statement’
The New York Giants are 4-11 and well out of playoff contention for the 2021 NFL season. The team has already decided to shut down Daniel Jones for the remainder of the season. Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes has also seen enough of Saquon Barkley this season and thinks it’s time for Joe Judge to pull the plug.
Lawrence Tynes says Joe Judge should bench Saquon Barkley
The New York Giants had high hopes for Saquon Barkley heading into the 2021 season. The former Pro Bowl running back hasn’t quite met expectations, but the entire team has stunk.
Lawrence Tynes, who played kicker for New York from 2007 to 2012, is not a fan of Barkley right now. He recently suggested that head coach Joe Judge send the fourth-year running back to the bench. The former kicker explained why on the New York Post’s Blue Rush Podcast.
“He needs to send a statement Sunday in Chicago,” said Tynes. “Sit Saquon Barkley on the bench. I don’t even care if he doesn’t dress. But Booker needs to be your starting back. Any man with any acumen, woman or child, knows that he’s the better player. If Booker starts that game, it’s a different game.”
Tynes believes that backup running back Devontae Booker gives this Giants team a better chance to win football games.
The Utah product filled in admirably when Barkley missed multiple games due to an ankle injury earlier in the season. He has 533 rushing yards and 256 receiving yards, more than Barkley in both categories.
“He sets the tone,” added Tynes. “The way he gets through the holes, he runs the ball hard. He’s a really good receiver out of the backfield. He’s got to be your guy. Saquon needs to be sent a message.”
Lawrence Tynes suggests that Saquon Barkley feels he has the starting job in the bag, but his production doesn’t match.
The Giants running back wants to finish strong
Saquon Barkley may not be having the season he intended to, but he’s not ready to pack it in just yet. The running back weighed in on the team’s state heading into the final two games of the regular season.
”We’ve just got to continue to fight for each other,” he said in a recent press conference. “We know the season didn’t go the way that we would like it, but we only have two more opportunities left as a team. You never know when your last opportunity is going to be, so you’ve got to try to take advantage of it.”
The Penn State product started 11 games for Joe Judge’s squad in 2021. He’s rushed for 461 yards and two touchdowns on 130 carries. Barkley has also caught 38 passes for 244 yards and three scores.
The 24-year-old running back has received his fair share of criticism from people like Lawrence Tynes over the years. The Giants drafted Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to play an integral role in their offense. While the talent is not debatable, availability has been a major concern over the past couple of seasons.
Barkley has yet to provide returns anywhere near the numbers he posted in his first two seasons in the league.
What will the front office do with Barkley beyond 2021?
If Saquon Barkley is healthy enough to go, there’s no way a coach like Joe Judge can bench him. He’s simply too talented. But what about after the 2021 season?
The New York native is in the fourth year of his rookie contract, bringing in just over $4.8 million for the 2021 season. The Giants picked up his fifth-year option for the 2022 season. Barkley would become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Still, the front office must decide if its star running back is worth the risk moving forward.
The former Penn State standout has seen his fair share of injuries since entering the NFL, including an ACL tear in Week 2 of the 2020 season. Barkley has missed 22 games over four years. That must be concerning for the Giants, who spent high draft capital on him.
Some teams are becoming increasingly hesitant about giving running backs massive long-term contracts. The shelf-life of a running back is significantly less than in other positions. Look at a guy like Christian McCaffrey. He has all the talent in the world but can’t stay on the field for the Carolina Panthers.
Saquon Barkley is getting somewhat of a bad rap. Injuries aside, the entire Giants offense has underperformed. Daniel Jones is who he is, and the offensive line has been awful.
New York could ultimately choose to trade its star player, but they better hope they get the better end of the deal. Otherwise, it would be another massive blunder by the front office.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference