Barkley wants new deal with Giants, but ‘it’s out of my control’


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Running back Saquon Barkley, faced with the realization that this Sunday could be his final game with the New York Giants, on Wednesday reiterated his desire to remain with the team for the remainder of his career.

“I’ve mentioned before that I want to be a Giant for Life,” Barkley said. “That was a goal of mine when I got drafted. I wanted to leave a legacy here, but it’s out of my control.”

Barkley, 26, is playing this season on a revised franchise tag and is set to become a free agent after Sunday’s finale. He said he hasn’t heard about the organization’s intentions.

New York (5-11) has the option to use a second franchise tag on Barkley at $12.1 million. The running back, who has 924 rushing yards this season, is open to negotiating a new deal before the start of free agency, even though the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement last year.

“I’m still as open as I was before,” Barkley said. “I just want something that is fair. … But like I said, I get it. It’s a business. If it’s not here, hopefully it’s some other place.”

Barkley just wants the Giants to shoot straight at his exit meeting next week. He’s about to finish his sixth NFL season with the team, and the 2018 No. 2 pick knows he’s running out of time to land a lucrative second contract.

“I do know that if I’m going to strike, I have to do it now,” Barkley said. “This is really probably my last opportunity to get a second deal. After that, the way they view running backs and treat running backs, it’s not really ideal if you’re looking at it that way.

“I would definitely love to get a second deal.”

He said a second straight franchise tag is not ideal, however.

“Obviously I don’t think any player wants to get franchise-tagged,” Barkley said.

It’s not a slam dunk, considering Barkley is averaging just 4.0 yards per carry this season behind an embattled offensive line. The Giants failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons since his arrival and he missed three games because of a high ankle sprain — the fourth time in six seasons he has missed time to injury.

The Giants could easily decide to let Barkley test his value in free agency, which would make Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium his final one with Big Blue.

It’s something he’s trying not to think about.

“No, obviously that is a possibility. A lot of that is out of my control,” Barkley said. “I just try to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Barkley isn’t the team’s only veteran whose time could be coming to an end. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giants player and one of Barkley’s closest friends, has decided to handle his situation differently, as he’s set to become a free agent after this season.

Shepard is trying to soak it all in, knowing that Sunday is likely his final game for the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.

“Of course,” Shepard said. “It’s been a great run. This season didn’t go the way we would’ve liked it to go, certainly not me, as well. It’s something that I think about, for sure. I’m looking forward to embracing it and taking it all in.

“It has been great from top to bottom. Not everyone has that [Michael] Strahan story, leaving with that ring on their finger and having some good seasons behind them. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’m very appreciative of this organization for all they’ve done for me and my family. It’s truly a blessing.”

Shepard, 30, has played sparingly this season. He has 369 catches for 4,077 yards and 23 touchdowns in his eight seasons with the Giants.

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