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Saquon Barkley contract: John Mara says Giants ‘not in any hurry’, will open talks ‘at appropriate time’

There is much to figure out if you’re John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants, having now secured an impressive free agency that included signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a multiyear deal and following it up with a deal for cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, presumably upgrading the offense and the defense in one fell swoop. But Mara, who admits to having grown “impatient” with the continued lack of success, must now determine the future of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkleybeing unequivocal in his love for both but recently making it clear any contract negotiations on the latter are not currently atop the team’s to-do list.

Mara would prefer to hold off on those talks until he believes the time is right and, for him, the right time is not now.

“I certainly think we’re not in any hurry to do that,” Mara told reporters as the calendar turned to April, via NFL.com

Barkley is working to return from a season-ending torn ACL suffered in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears and it’s reasonable to believe his ability to remain on the field going forward will be a talking point whenever negotiations begin. But that’s not something Mara is publicly focusing on at the moment, his belief being Barkley will physically be fine this season.

“We fully expect him to be as good as new,” Mara said. “I mean, if anybody is going to spend 100 percent of his efforts to rehab, it will be Saquon — just knowing what type of motivation he has and desire he has.”

Still, Mara reiterates his stance in that they’re not going to run to the table to meet with Barkley just yet about his contract.

“But, we’re not in any hurry to do that at this point in time, particularly after the money we just spent [in free agency],” he added. “But listen, I said it at the end of the season and I’ll say it again, we hope he’s going to be a Giant for life and at the appropriate time we’ll start those discussions.”

A former second overall pick in 2018, the Giants can choose to exercise Barkley’s fifth-year option this spring that would secure him through the 2022 season. That would buy them plenty of time to work out a new deal with the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but there’s always a potential curveball waiting to be thrown. A ready example resides in North Texas in 2019, when All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott opted to hold out of training camp after having seen his fifth-year option exercised, to light a fire beneath the Dallas Cowboys in regards to awarding him a new deal. 

Owner Jerry Jones having had a similar stance then as Mara does now (as far as believing he had plenty of time when he subsequently did not), and ultimately awarded Elliott a six-year extension worth $90 million that included $50 million guaranteed. It’s unclear if Barkley would look to pull from the playbook of his NFC East compatriot, and for as much as Mara believes Barkley will be just fine physically going forward — general manager Dave Gettleman admits Barkley’s recovery is directly tied to the decision on exercising the fifth-year option (or not).

“Well, I think that’s part of the discussion, and obviously we’re going to have to make a decision in the spring on whether we pick up his fifth-year option or not,” Gettleman said. “You know, again, it comes back to that medical question. It’s unknown and what you have to do is get your trainer and your doctors involved and make your best decision.”

Needless to say, this is something to keep an eye on in New York.




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