Saquon Barkley’s devastating knee injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for him or the New York Giants.
Barkley, the former No. 2 overall pick, will miss the rest of the 2020 season with a torn ACL. The explosive running back’s injury is the newest setback for an 0-2 Giants team that has played in just one postseason game since 2012.
The bad news could keep coming for Barkley. His latest injury could create an uncomfortable decision for the New York Giants when the offseason arrives.
Saquon Barkley is an explosive running back when healthy
Saquon Barkley entered the NFL with high expectations, as all No. 2 overall picks do.
Those expectations rose partly because of how dominant Barkley was at Penn State, and partly because the Giants invested such a high pick in a running back.
Through his first two seasons, Barkley played the part of a No. 2 overall pick well, totaling 2,310 yards and 17 touchdowns on 4.8 yards per carry. Barkley also turned 143 catches into 1,159 yards and six touchdowns.
Barkley earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors in 2018.
With Daniel Jones firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback, the Giants entered this season optimistic about their future.
Barkley’s 2020 season ended after two games
The 2020 season opened, quite literally, in awful fashion for Saquon Barkley.
Although Barkley had six catches for 60 yards in a Week 1 loss to the Steelers, he only had six rushing yards on 15 carries. The good news for Barkley was that by the time he ended his fourth carry in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, he already had 28 rushing yards in that game.
The bad news, though, is Barkley tore his ACL in the Giants’ 17-13 loss.
New York, already without several other starters because of injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs, signed former Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to replace Barkley.
The Giants host San Francisco on Sunday, Sept. 20. New York then has road games at Los Angeles and Dallas before returning home for an Oct. 18 matchup with the Washington Football Team.
Saquon Barkley may not be long for New York
Not only will Saquon Barkley miss the remainder of the 2020 season, but his time as the Giants’ star running back may be nearing an end.
The New York Giants will have to decide next spring if they want to pick up Barkley’s fifth-year option and retain him for 2022. On the one hand, Barkley has impressed when healthy and is a high-character player, on and off the field.
However, Barkley will be coming off an ACL tear and it is uncertain how long it will take for him to recover his old skillset — if he can, of course.
The Giants now need to consider selecting a running back on Day 2 of the NFL draft. Not only could that rookie share snaps with Barkley next year, but they could raise their case as a long-term replacement if the Giants either don’t pick up his 2022 option or trade him.
Rakeem Boyd, a former Last Chance U standout who is now at Arkansas, profiles as a mid-round back the Giants could draft next year. The same goes for Oklahoma State star Chuba Hubbard, although a strong 2020 season could push Hubbard into the first round.