The Giants made the no-brainer decision on Wednesday to pick up the fifth-year option on Saquon Barkley’s rookie contract.
The fully guaranteed salary for Barkley’s fifth year in 2022 is only $7.2 million, which is lower than his $10 million this coming season.
Barkley, 24, is expected to want a new contract long before he ever plays on that fifth-year number. But picking up this option gives the team control and flexibility in addressing Barkley’s future.
Co-owner John Mara said in March that the Giants are “not in any hurry” to give Barkley a contract extension, so Wednesday’s decision does not resolve this situation.
Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is rehabbing a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus in his right knee that he suffered in a Week 2 loss at Chicago last fall.
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ESPN reported that Barkley is on track to be ready for the start of the season, hours before ESPN then broke the news of Barkley’s fifth-year option pick-up.
But the Giants have hedged their bets so far, paying more than expected for veteran free agent RB Devontae Booker because he’s “a legitimate three-down back,” GM Dave Gettleman said.
And the Giants also could draft a running back this weekend.