Giants RB Saquon Barkley: ‘Loyalty means nothing’ in NFL

Saquon Barkley stands as perhaps the lone reliable, healthy option for the New York Giants’ offense 10 games into the regular season.

But Barkley still feels the burn of a contract standoff in the offseason, when he grudgingly came to terms on a modified franchise tag contract at a rate of $10.1 million in salary plus nearly $1 million available in incentives.

On Sunday at the Washington Commanders, Barkley will make his second start alongside undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito and figures prominently in the gameplan. But he doesn’t have any preconceived notion about what being “old reliable” might mean to his bottom line come March and contract time.

“Loyalty means nothing,” he said. “Loyalty, that don’t mean nothing. No matter how loyal, no matter how committed you are, it’s a business at the end of the day. That is something that I have learned.”

Barkley leads the Giants with 586 rushing yards. New York has eight offensive touchdowns and ranked last in total offense.

At 26, he’s nearly out of what NFL evaluators consider prime production years for a running back.

Barkley was asked Thursday if he has contemplated that taking on a heavy workload for the rest of an otherwise lost season — in terms of contending and returning to the playoffs — could actually hurt his pocketbook because of the wear and tear on his body.

“Yeah, it’s really crazy when you break it down like that. It’s just the way the business is,” Barkley said. “When you’re a premier back in this league — not to talk about myself — they feed you the ball because it helps you and gives you an opportunity to win games more times than not. And then when it comes to contract or a certain time and you’re a running back, you having so much miles on you, it’s a crazy concept.

“I try my best not to think about that or I would go insane. I just try to keep focus on the love of the game, take care of my body and whenever the opportunity comes to talk contract again — whether it’s with the Giants or another team — hopefully I’m able to pull the film or pull up numbers to be able to get a contract that is the best for me and my family.”