No one can tell Otis Anderson anything about the wear and tear and punishment of being an NFL running back that he doesn’t already know.
He did it very well for 14 years, including one magical night in Tampa, Florida, when he led the Whispering Giants to Super Bowl glory.
No one can tell anything about Saquon Barkley’s plight is foreign to Anderson.
As much as Anderson realized then, and now, that running backs are “a dime a dozen”, the player who is currently a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame cannot be convinced that Barkley made the right choice by not accepting the Giants’ latest offer, an offer that has now passed its expiration date.
“It’s scary to have a conversation and listen to the people around you, which is what you must do,” Anderson told The Post. “But there comes a time when you have to move on and make your own decisions. You had money on the table, now you got more, now you got less, now you probably won’t play at all, so now what?’
After last Monday’s deadline for a long-term extension came and went, Barkley would have to play at the franchise tag of $10.1 million or else sit out the season.
It would be unwise for Barkley to give up any games.
There is every possibility that he will not report to training camp on Tuesday with his teammates.
The last Giants’ offer Barkley rejected was closer to $23 million guaranteed, meaning he would have to stay healthy, be highly productive in 2023 and find a new deal with the Giants or elsewhere in 2024 for at least $13 million, at best, absorbing all the risk, with only $10.1 million guaranteed so far, or, more accurately, whenever Barkley tenders. signs on.
Anderson feels for Barkley’s pain but believes that making a difficult situation worse is not the right course to take.
Anderson, 66, can be seen as having two NFL careers.
He spent the first half of it as a rising star with the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded to the Giants during the 1986 season – a trade that Anderson did not believe to be in his best interests at the time.
He scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl XXI victory over the Broncos, but was not part of Bill Parcells’ running back rotation in 1987 or 1988.
He was rejuvenated with a 1,023-yard season in 1989 and fully blossomed the following year when Anderson allowed a Bill Belichick-inspired defensive game plan to work against the high-flying Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
Dominating time of possession on offense, the Giants carried the ball 21 times to Anderson, churning out 102 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 20–19 upset victory, after which Anderson was crowned the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.
Anderson was one of seven running backs to be named MVP in the first 32 Super Bowls.
Not one running back has been the MVP in the last 25 Super Bowls.
It is a quarterback- and wide receiver-driven league; Those are the position groups that get big contracts.
In Anderson’s view, Barkley should have realized this, run away with the money.
Anderson said, “I understand that Barkley feels he’s at that point in his career where he wants a big check, he wants a big contract, because everybody wants that, because you’re never sure you’ll get another one.” “Two years from now, he will be in his seventh year, and that’s when most teams will give up on running backs. I wish him all the best, but management is looking at it very differently from Barclay’s perspective.
“Management is saying you were very good your debut year, then you had two or three years in between when you were injured and then you had a very good year last year. So they’re looking at that out of five years you only had three good years.
If Barkley isn’t in training camp for a long time, the other running backs will have more opportunities to show off their skills.
The Giants have a promising rookie in Eric Gray, taken in the fifth round as a freshman out of Oklahoma.
“If you’re a person like Barkley, you don’t want to let that happen,” said Anderson, who runs First Team Marketing, a trade show event planning company, with his former partner Lawrence Taylor. “You don’t want them to let anyone else in that front door because those kids are also hungry and they’re getting a lot less money than you.
“It will be interesting to see when he decides to come. you are coming in [late]You’re coming in with less money, and it will bother you and make it harder to give your all when you know you’re being paid less.
“And he can’t come out there and after two games he got injured. This is something He cannot do, and it is always a possibility.