Giants’ Saquon Barkley looks ready to swing

There are a handful of scenarios where Saquon Barkley is still with the Giants next year. But it’s hard to imagine any of them coming to fruition.

General manager Joe Schoen didn’t take his salary cap medicine only to hand big money to a running back with a lot of tread on the tires. Even though Barkley is having a major rebound season as many are predicting. If he has another injury-plagued year, the odds of a fresh start appear to be outweighing the Giants, giving him a low-stakes proof deal. And if the most likely outcome develops – Barkley has a solid, but not great year – there will be someone willing to overpay.

On the contrary, Schoen dealing Barkley at the trade deadline seems more realistic than re-signing him. They should have done it in the offseason, of course. But better late than never.

In the meantime, Barkley has looked good in the summer. And he seems to be eager to settle accounts with his many detractors. He spoke out against those who criticize his running style on Thursday.

“I know it’s the talk or the thought or the thing that’s been said about me, that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s dancing there,” Barkley told reporters. “J ‘m really sick of people who have never played in this position and I try to talk about the way I run football. We call them All-Pros with clickers in the hand.

Barkley, of course, also said he was tired of “the stupidity people say about me or this team” in April.

A few thoughts: Barkley is not necessarily a “dancer”. But he was always a bink-bink-boom runner. There are going to be a lot of zero or negative payout races mixed in with the home races. And when he runs behind an offensive line as bad as the Giants? It will be amplified.

Also: There should be no more debate. Barkley was a failed No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. And through no fault of his own. If you’re going to take a running back that high, you need to have a great offensive line already in place and a playoff-caliber roster established. The Cowboys had that when they took on Ezekiel Elliott. And it worked for a few years, they got nothing out of it and now his contract is an albatross.

Barkley never had a chance here. That’s general manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara. Because the only reason the Giants took Barkley was because the organization’s top priority was to fool itself that Eli Manning had yet another Super Bowl run.

The overcorrection that followed Manning’s shameful bench in 2017 and the ensuing fallout was arguably the most destructive event in recent local sports history. The desire to back Manning tainted GM’s search, then led to a horrible head coaching hire — Pat Shurmur probably didn’t even think he’d win a Super Bowl here — and a slew of staff duds. The Giants would be in a better position today even if they took Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen at No. 2.

Barkley can have a good season. But the idea that head coach Brian Daboll can snap his fingers and make him play like a Gold Jacket Guy is silly. The quarterback is not very good, the receivers are not good, the offensive line will only be better. Daboll’s plan is good, but Barkley is unlikely to become the transcendent player Gettleman sold him – and the one he needs to be for the Giants to move heaven and earth to keep him beyond this season.

That said, Barkley is clearly going to try. He is in good health and plans to come out swinging. And if necessary, also go down there. The Hand of God brings a hammer. This must excite the Giants. But that probably won’t change what seems inevitable.

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

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