Saquon shakes off multiple Commanders for a 32-yard TD (0:18)
Tyrod Taylor throws short to Saquon Barkley, who weaves through tackles and scores a 32-yard touchdown. (0:18)
Jordan Raanan, ESPN Staff WriterOct 22, 2023, 07:02 PM ET
- Jordan Raanan is a reporter for NFL Nation at ESPN. Raanan covers the New York Giants. You can follow him via Twitter @JordanRaanan.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Several days after the New York Giants articulated their intention to keep Saquon Barkley through the trade deadline, the star running back scored the winning touchdown after hyperextending his elbow earlier in the contest.
Barkley’s 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter turned out to be the winning score in an up-and-down 14-7 victory over the Washington Commanders. He also fumbled deep in Washington territory late in the fourth quarter to keep it a one-score game.
All this came after he hyperextended his elbow on the game’s second drive when he was tackled to the ground and into the kicking net by Washington linebacker Jamin Davis. Barkley went to the sideline and was attended to by trainers. He returned the following series with a sleeve on his left arm and elbow.
“I’ll be all right,” Barkley said with a meeting against the crosstown rival New York Jets on the horizon next Sunday.
With the trade deadline looming (Oct. 31, 4 p.m. ET), it doesn’t look as if Barkley is going anywhere, even though he is playing on an adjusted franchise tag and set to become a free agent after the season. After Barkley was asked about the potential of being traded last week, the Giants’ brass pulled him aside to assure that they wanted him to remain a key piece to their puzzle.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a sigh of relief. … It didn’t cross my mind,” Barkley said. “I don’t even think about it. I know you guys are doing your job and asking the question.
“There was a conversation during the week from [coach Brian Daboll] and [general manager] Joe [Schoen]. They pulled me aside and talked to me. I can’t control that, if it doesn’t happen or it does happen. What I can control is how I come to work every single day and how I compete, my mindset and my work ethic. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
The Giants (2-5) won on Sunday for the first time since Week 2. They snapped a four-game skid. They also scored an offensive touchdown for the first time in over a month.
They’ll have some decisions to make by the deadline aside from Barkley, especially if they lose to the Jets. But trading their most explosive playmaker would be detrimental to the product on the field this season. That his future remains uncertain is a separate pressing issue.
Barkley, 26, made it clear that does not want to be anywhere else other than the place where he was drafted second overall in the 2018 NFL draft.
“Everyone knows I don’t want to be traded,” he said last week.
Barkley has consistently stated he wants to be a Giant for life. He has a life and family in New Jersey, where the Giants make their home. Uprooting everything he has built in the area is not among his preferences.
But while Schoen has said before he’s not “shopping” a player, it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t listen. He eventually traded Kadarius Toney (in a much different situation) only a few months after insisting he wasn’t exploring trades for the wide receiver.
Barkley’s value to the Giants is obvious. They have looked significantly more competent since his return last Sunday night in Buffalo from a high ankle sprain that cost him three games. Barkley had 77 yards on 21 carries against the Commanders. He added three catches for 41 yards and the touchdown.
And also the fumble that kept the Commanders alive late. It prompted him to joke afterward that the fan base would “ship my ass out if we had lost that game.”
They didn’t lose this one. And it looks like he’s staying anyway, at least through the end of this season and perhaps longer.