Ahead of the final year of his New York Giants rookie contract, running back Saquon Barkley needs a good year to get a big extension next offseason. To that end, he is ready to play an even bigger role in the offense this year.
According to Ralph Vacciano of SNY, Barkley, in addition to his usual duties at RB, lines up at wide receiver. Barkley told the media that this is part of the team’s efforts to make the offense more open. Although he admitted that he had not done such work since college.
“I think it’s useful not only for me, but also opens up new opportunities for attack,” Barkley said. “I haven’t actually moved [there] since college. I kind of went back and looked at some of my student papers to see what I was able to do there.”
As a rookie, Barkley proved to be an extremely versatile threat both as a runner and receiver. But over the last three games, he has hardly been used in passes when he was healthy.
Despite playing 13 games in 2021, Sakwon Barkley played only 61% of the Giants’ offensive snaps when they were available. It was the lowest in his three healthiest seasons.
As a rookie, Barkley averaged 5.7 receptions and hit the target 7.5 times per game. Fast forward to 2021, and these numbers have almost halved.
2022 could be a watershed year for Barkley’s entire NFL career. If he can’t stay healthy and become a player again—or at least highly productive—his NFL career may start to slip away from him.
Will Sakuon Barkley return in 2022 as a receiver?