A week after a demonstrative performance in a wild-card upset over the Vikings, New York fell back to earth against the Eagles, which leaves Big Blue needing to quickly pivot to keeping cornerstones of the turnaround like Barkley around.
"I'll probably sit down with my agent at some time this week," Barkley, who is a pending free agent, told NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo postgame. "I've been vocal about how I feel, where I want to be and where I want to stay. It's out of my hands. And that's part of the business, but everyone knows how I feel."
The two-time Pro Bowler's resurgent 2022 was a primary reason why head coach Brian Daboll's inaugural season resulted in New York's first playoff trip in six years, and he remained a highlight in both postseason games.
Barkley set career highs in the regular season with 295 carries and 1,312 rushing yards, and his 10 rushing TDs trailed behind only his prolific rookie campaign.
He continued rolling against the Vikings on Super Wild Card Weekend, touching the ball 15 times for 109 yards and two scores. He actually improved on his 5.9 yards per carry from the previous week in New York's 38-7 loss on Saturday, this time averaging 6.8 yards on nine carries, but the game was too out of hand for any of that to matter -- the Eagles' five first-half possessions netted four touchdowns; The Giants' five first-half possessions provided no points and an interception.
"It sucks," Barkley told reporters in the team locker room. "It was a fun team. The guys here, the coaches, the thing that we were able to build this year. The way we played for each other this year. It was special. Obviously it didn't end how we would want it to end. It's not just cause of the record or 'cause we made it to the playoffs, but this is probably one of my favorite teams all time. That's the sad thing about the NFL. No matter what, the locker room is not gonna be exactly the same next year."
The runaway game shifts the focus from a Giants season that exceeded expectations to an offseason expected to shape the team's next several years.
Barkley has made it clear he would prefer to stay with the team that drafted him, and the Giants reportedly view both Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones as key players for the 2023 season and beyond, but speculation on futures will continue until pen meets paper.
When and if a new deal is struck, perhaps a reunion will help begin to wash away the bitter sting of Saturday's defeat.
Referring to the loss, Barkley said: "I can't envision that being my last time in a Giants uniform."