The New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley once made a lofty promise. Since he was literally a toddler, the running back insisted he’d grow up and buy his mom a house. Once the Giants drafted Barkley in 2018, he quickly made good on his word. What’s even more interesting is how he did it.
Let’s look at the Giants’ star RB’s career so far, and the financial philosophy that helped him buy two homes without spending a cent of his NFL earnings.
How Saquon Barkley made it to the NFL
The Giants used their second overall pick on Barkley, and it’s not so surprising why. Consider these two numbers that immediately pop out on Sports-Reference. In 2015 and 2016, respectively, the explosive RB set the Penn State record for rushing yards in a season by a freshman (1,076) and by a sophomore (1,496).
The next year reached greater feats. He set the school’s record for yards in a single game, at 358. He was the first player in Big Ten history to score a return and passing touchdown in one game. After his instrumental role in Penn State’s Fiesta Bowl victory, details ESPN, he felt his resume was good enough. He declared for the 2018 NFL draft, and rightly so.
The ‘Marshawn Lynch method’ that helped Barkley buy a home
Barkley was one of the biggest names in the 2018 draft. He quickly signed endorsement deals to match his rapidly growing national presence. It’s a moment that often makes a young athlete’s head spin. But Barkley had a model for how to handle things.
“Once I realized when I declared for the NFL draft and kind of realized where I was going to be drafted, that was something I was like, ‘You know what? Kind of want to follow the Marshawn Lynch method,” the Giants star told ABC News. “I don’t want to touch [my NFL earnings].”
Barkley’s endorsement deals with Nike, Pepsi, and Panini America were all set in stone before he played a single regular-season NFL game. He signed a four year, $31.2 million deal with the Giants. An additional $4.5 million in endorsements — that’s just one year’s worth! — gave the RB a little something extra to work with.
His first move was, of course, to make good on his promise to his mother. He bought her a home outright, reports Sporting News. Not every kid can back up his most boisterous promises as a child, but we can put Barkley on that very short-list.
What Barkley brings to the NFL
Was Barkley truly worth showing cash on, from multiple corners? Is it a good move for endorsements to pay out before the ink even dries on an NFL rookie contract? In the former Penn State star’s case, when the bill came due, he made good on every deal and then some.
He immediately scored a touchdown in his first NFL appearance. By the end of the season, it was clear he’d play an enormous role in the future of the franchise just as Eli Manning was out the door. His record-breaking run included 91 catches for 721 yards, and he rushed 261 times for 1,207 yards. These numbers are almost unseen from all but a handful of first-year running backs in the history of the game.
No shock that he earned a Pro Bowl nod, as well as the NFL Rookie of the Year. If not for an ankle injury, he would’ve continued exactly the same warpath he went on during the previous season. A Week 3 injury kept him out until week seven, yet he still became the first RB in Giants’ history to rack up 1,000 rushing yards across two seasons. Certainly, Barkley earned the right to buy his mom a nice house, and that’s just for starters.