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    Why Did Saquon Barkley Leave the Giants? Revisiting Dramatic End to the RB’s New York Tenure

    Discover why Saquon Barkley left the Giants as we revisit the dramatic end to the star running back’s tenure in New York.

    The New York Giants will star in the first of three “Hard Knocks” series this year, the first-ever offseason version. As a result, cameras followed the team throughout every part of their offseason, including the end of the Saquon Barkley era. How and why did it all go down?

    Why Did Saquon Barkley Leave the New York Giants?

    Barkley’s career ended with the Giants for two reasons: injuries and money. A poor offensive line took its toll on Barkley’s health, resulting in injuries including a torn ACL and multiple ankle injuries in recent years, limiting his time on the field.

    In addition, the Giants refused to give Barkley a long-term contract extension that he believed he was worth. The ordeal began following 2022 when the Giants franchise-tagged Barkley in 2023. However, they did not tag him in 2024, letting him walk and sign with whoever he wanted.

    “Once I announced it, everything kind of got hectic,” Barkley said on leaving the Giants and how he announced it. “I don’t think I handled it the right way; I think I could’ve given a proper goodbye.

    “To the Giants fans who were hurt by me leaving, I have nothing but respect for them,” Barkley said. “For the last six years, they’ve been great to me and my family and created so many memories; I am forever grateful and thankful for them.”

    In addition to talking about leaving the team, Barkley also spoke about getting past the business side of things. “I’m excited to get the business side off of it,” Barkley said.

    “The last few years I’ve had so many people talking about the tag or a new contract, and now all of that is done. Now we can keep the main thing the main thing and focus on playing football and winning games.”

    Revisiting Barkley’s Stint in New York

    Barkley’s time in New York began in 2018 when he was taken second overall in the NFL Draft. It didn’t take him long to prove himself worth that pick, either, as he won Offensive Rookie of the Year and rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    He then followed up his great season with 1,003 yards and six more touchdowns. That was where everything went awry, though. In 2020, he suffered a torn ACL that limited his season to just 34 yards and no touchdowns. Then, in 2021, he suffered an ankle injury that limited him to just 593 yards and two touchdowns.

    However, 2022 was a return to normalcy, with him healthily rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns. But following the franchise tag being placed on him, he rushed for just 962 yards and six touchdowns in 2023, also suffering a lingering ankle injury. As a result, the Giants decided to let him walk on his own terms.

    All in all, Barkley rushed for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,201 attempts. Those stats place him inside the top-five Giants running backs of all time. He’s fourth in yards, sixth in touchdowns, and fourth in attempts. He also had 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    He finished his Giants career as a two-time Pro Bowler, on top of his Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He was also a part of the PFWA All-Rookie team.

    Barkley’s Future With the Division-Rival Philadelphia Eagles

    After leaving the Giants, Barkley ended up landing a new deal with the rival Philadelphia Eagles. He joined the team on a three-year, $37.75 million deal. The deal included $26 million guaranteed and an $11.625 million signing bonus.

    “When it came to my attention that they were a team interested in me, I definitely got excited about it,” Barkley said. “Watching from afar everything that they’re about, the culture, the fans, definitely got excited about it. I’m happy to be a part of this and ready to go.”

    While the Eagles have gotten good production out of their running backs in recent years, Barkley is the best talent they’ve had back there since LeSean McCoy. Add on the fact that this will be the best offensive line Barkley has ever played with, and it’s a match made in heaven for both sides.

    He also adds a deadly threat to the Eagles’ offense. They have too many weapons for a defense to focus on just one. “Pick your poison,” Barkley said to opposing defenses.

    “You can collapse down and take me away, then you’ve got Jalen [Hurts]. If you want to stick with Jalen, then you’ve got me running behind an awesome offensive line. So I’m looking forward to all that.”

    KEEP READING: Revisiting the Giants’ Blockbuster Trade For Brian Burns

    Another positive: Barkley returns to Pennsylvania, where he played college at Penn State. He played alongside former Eagle Miles Sanders, who rushed for over 1,200 yards with Philadelphia in 2022  before leaving in free agency for the Carolina Panthers.

    That leaves one question: Can Barkley stay healthy? With a new offensive line, everyone can hope so. However, there are no guarantees. If he does, though, the Eagles should be set up for a lot of success, with Barkley likely playing at the best level he’s ever been able to.

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