EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Saquon Barkley era in New York never had a chance.

It was doomed from the moment former New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman drafted the running back out of Penn State with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

"He was touched by the hand of God, frankly," Gettleman said immediately after the pick was made.

Gettleman then described him as a generational talent. Barkley himself backed up those expectations by immediately declaring himself "more than a running back."

But Barkley was thrust into a bad situation while burdened with expectations that were almost impossible to meet. He had to be an all-time great to justify being selected so high. He joined a team whose quarterback, Eli Manning, played two more forgettable seasons and was set to play behind a bad offensive line.

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The Giants never really fixed their quarterback or offensive line situations during Barkley's six seasons. The team went a combined 34-64-1. Their offense was in the bottom half of the league every season that Barkley was in New York. The high point came during his rookie season, when he topped 2,000 total yards and they finished 17th in total offense.

Injuries slowed him down the most. A high ankle sprain postponed his sophomore season for three games. A torn ACL wasted the 2020 season. It really took until 2022, when he had perhaps his best -- and only playoff -- season, for him to look like his old self.

Barkley, 27, ends his Giants career as the franchise's fourth all-time leading rusher with 5,211 yards. But he walks away with only one playoff win.

Barkley talked about wanting to be a "Giant for life" and having a post-playing career like Eli Manning and Michael Strahan in New York. But the results on the field -- for the team and him personally -- were never going to allow him to get into that category.

There is no doubt that Barkley is still a really good player. He's a two-time Pro Bowl running back. But he's not what the Giants were expecting.

No matter how much Gettleman thought positional value was bogus, the fact that Barkley was drafted that high as a running back was always going to work against him. It doesn't matter if No. 3 pick Sam Darnold is now a backup or that quarterback Josh Rosen was selected in the top 10 and is now out of the league. Quarterback Josh Allen was selected at No. 7 by the Buffalo Bills and Lamar Jackson 32nd by the Baltimore Ravens. They were among the options for the Giants in that draft.

Based on his draft situation, Barkley needed to be the one to turn the Giants organization around, especially given Daniel Jones hasn't proven to be the franchise quarterback the team had anticipated.

After six seasons, it was time for Barkley to go.

Barkley now gets to play for a Philadelphia Eagles team that not only has real playoff aspirations, but realistic Super Bowl chances. He grew up in the Lehigh Valley, about an hour from Philadelphia, and his family still lives there.

A three-year deal for $37.7 million with $26 million fully guaranteed is more than the Giants ever offered Barkley last season before he got injured again -- a high ankle sprain cost him three games -- and ran for fewer than 1,000 yards.

The Giants never really had any intention of signing Barkley this offseason. They never made him an offer, according to a source close to the situation.

More fiscally responsible was signing a midlevel running back and supplementing that position in the draft. New York is signing former Houston Texans running back Devin Singletary for three years and $16.5 million, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter. The money saved on Barkley and the running back position can now help general manager Joe Schoen fill out the roster.

If only Barkley had been brought into a winning situation under realistic expectations.