Want to have your mind blown? This should do the trick.
Obscure stats like these tend to elicit eyerolls, cherrypicked to serve a specific narrative. But that doesn’t make this juxtaposition any less jarring. The fact that Mayfield, not typically thought of as a dual-threat quarterback, has as many rushing yards the past two years as Barkley is symbolic of just how far Saquon and the Giants have fallen.
Talented as Barkley was and is, he was always a reach where the Giants drafted him (in today’s pass-dominant NFL, no running back is worthy of the second overall pick). And while it would be unfair to label Barkley as a bust, there’s obvious concern about his long-term future, both in the NFL and with the Giants, after missing a combined 18 games since the start of 2020. Coming out of Penn State, the 233-pound Barkley looked indestructible, but clearly that hasn’t been the case with the past two seasons calling his durability into question.
It’s impossible to know whether Barkley has been the victim of sheer bad luck or his broken body, weathered from years of punishment, is simply failing him at the worst possible time. Regardless, Barkley’s once-promising career has taken a sharp detour with some beginning to wonder what the 24-year-old has left to give. It’s not too late for him to right the ship, but at a cutthroat position that chews players up and spits them out, it’s hard to be optimistic about Barkley’s career trajectory.