Saquon Barkley Sounds Off on Running Back Contract Narrative, Tommy Devito Pitches Saquon to Return to Giants

We sat down with Saquon Barkley and Tommy Devito to talk about the Super Bowl, Saquon's future in New York, the state of running back contracts, the Cowboys/Eagles losing and the rise of Devito.

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Three months ago, Tommy Devito was just another practice player on a struggling New York Giants team happy to be a part of the organization and in the NFL. Today, he's sitting courtside at NBA games and is one of the most recognizable sports faces in New York. After a Linsanity-like run with the Giants this season, Devito feels like he's earned his spot in the NFL.

"I felt like I could have played in this league at the preseason," Devito tells Complex. "Obviously, I know the preseason is completely different than the regular season because I didn't know any better. I think it was a good start for my career."

While Devito was trying to prove to the Giants that he belongs in the NFL, Giants star Saquon Barkley was trying to prove to the Giants and the rest of the league that he deserves his money. Saquon has been a vocal advocate for running backs deserving to get paid and as a possible free agency approaches, he'll find himself in that debate once again.

"I don't agree that running backs don't deserve the money," Barkley tells Complex. "The trend is you can get a running back in the third round, fourth round, fifth round to have the same production. Running backs don't last long... Look at Tommy Devito, undrafted quarterback and came in and put us in a playoff contention and you got Puka, wide receiver in the fifth round. You got Brock Purdy, who was the last pick of the draft."

That debate will resurface this offseason when the Giants and Barkley will have to make a decision on his future. We sat down with Barkley and Devito to talk about the Super Bowl, Saquon's future in New York, the state of running back contracts, the rise of Tommy Devito, and their partnership with Marriott Bonvoy.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

We can jump right into it. Talk about your partnership with Marriott Bonvoy and what you guys got going on at the Super Bowl.
We're excited. We got a cool experience where members get to bid their points, to come out to Las Vegas for football weekend and spend some time with me and Tommy on the golf course, where we'll be playing golf, having fun creating memories and also, they need to enjoy the time in Las Vegas in the Super Bowl and, and get to go to the Super Bowl, which is a unbelievable experience.

How are y'all golf games?
We haven't golfed together yet, but like it's snowing right now in Jersey, so I'm definitely gonna get on the golf course later. Probably my first round of the year but I'll be more prepared.

Tommy: We're gonna find out when the time comes. Like I said, we're competitive on the football field and we're bringing it to the golf course. So whoever these two additions will be, they better make sure they bring their A game because it's gonna be a lot of talk and we might get in their head. It's gonna be an awesome experience. I'm looking forward to it for sure.

Tommy for you, what has these past few months been like? From practice player to courtside at NBA games to go along with these brand deals.
It's been kind of crazy to say the least.I appreciate the fan bases. Everybody's been taking care of myself, my family. But yeah, it's been a lot of fun. I've been trying to enjoy it. Obviously, there's been ups and downs through it all, but at the end of the day, not a lot of people get to play this game and do what we do at this level and to call it our occupation. But at the same time I treat it like I was fve years old, playing football with my friends. I just try to enjoy it when I'm on the field

Saquon: I was happy to be a part of it. I love the story. You got a Jersey kid, undrafted and now playing starting quarterback for the New York Giants winning football games for us. The thing I love the most was how Tommy here and the whole situation within the locker room, he would come to work every single day with the right mindset. He never got too high, never got too low. He has that confdence and that swagger and that's why I think it's not just a fuke because it's not just like a little streak that he had. I think whenever he gets his opportunity, he will be more than ready just because the way he prepares himself, the talent that he has.

This Marriott Bonvoy event is happening at the Super Bowl of course so let's dive into the playoffs. No. 1, how did it feel to see the Cowboys and Eagles lose in the first round?
It's crazy, right? Obviously as a Giants fan playing for the Giants, you love seeing the Eagles lose and Dallas lose, but the NFL is so crazy. Think about it. We beat up on the Packers. I almost messed the game up and Tommy had my back, had a two-minute drive and won the game. We got beat up by Dallas twice this year and then Packers manhandled Dallas.

So that's why I keep saying that the NFL is so unpredictable, but yeah, seeing Dallas and seeing Philly not getting a chance to hold up that trophy definitely does put a smile on your face.

Tommy: Likewise, I'm with him. Twitter is a crazy place after games but I know I saw all the Giants fans were all happy. To see those two good teams lose that early on was a positive but I mean, it could just have easily been us in those situations in that game, right?I'm looking forward to what is to come for the Giants organization for us moving forward but it was good to see those guys go down for sure.

Who do y'all have in the Super Bowl?
I'm gonna go with San Fran-Ravens. I think the Ravens find a way to win that game.

Tommy: We're on the same page of that. I said, San Fran-Ravens. Obviously, the Ravens put them down earlier this year. I think San Fran is the best team in the league but you can't count out Patrick Mahomes

Tommy, I'll ask you this, what is your pitch to Saquon to return to the Giants?Saquon: Go ahead Tommy, give me your pitch.

Tommy: That is my man's. I want the best for him in any way situation. I want them to call the Brink's truck and come drop off the cash at the front door. Now I hope is for the Giants cause I want him to be in the backfeld with me and all my team because I think he is the best teammate in the NFL, the best teammate I've had around. Obviously, I've played one year in the league but I've played a lot of football. He's the best teammate that I've ever been around in my life. Hands down for sure.

Now, I hope it's with the Giants. But if not, somebody call the bank because the bank is coming because this man needs to get paid. You're my man, you're my man for real. Now you can come run it back and we can get right. But at the same time, I want you to get your paper, you know what I mean?

Saquon: Great answer, my dog.

To add to that question Saquon, how do you feel about the state of running backs and people saying they don't deserve the money?
I don't agree that running backs don't deserve the money. The trend is you can get a running back in the third round, fourth round, fifth round to have the same production. Running backs don't last long. They get injured but that's any position in the NFL. It's not a matter of if you're gonna get injured. It's when you get injured. So it's just a trend. You look at the recent backs that got bigger deals, Todd Gurley's and Ezekiel Elliott's, the injuries histories that came with that. So now everybody is kind of like we can't pay running back because you can get a guy like, De'Von Achane who's a stud in the later rounds and come in and play really well, but they can do that for any position. That's the problem.

Look at Tommy Devito, undrafted quarterback and came in and put us in a playoff contention and you got Puka, wide receiver in the fifth round. you got Brock Purdy, who was the last pick of the draft. It's the NFL, you get the right coach, you get the right system and you get the right players around them, people are going to ball and the thing is everybody deserves to get paid.

I mean Christian McCaffrey's probably the best player in the NFL right now. He's not gonna get the MVP because the MVP is a quarterback award, but there's no reason why he shouldn't be Offensive Player of the Year year. So I could sit here and talk about this for hours but it's just a trend. It sucks that I'm part of that trend right now but there will be a time where running backs will get paid again.

You've been a Giant your whole career, could you see yourself in another uniform next year?
Yeah, I mean it never crossed my mind until last year after I got tagged. Up until that moment, I really believe that I was gonna finish my career as a New York Giant. You know, that was a goal of mine. And that's still in play. I have so much respect for the Mara family and the Tisch family and everyone in the Giants organization.

They know that but once you get to this point, you go to your contract negotiation and you go through the tag process, you realize how much of a business it is. And I remember vets always telling me this and you know I believed them, but you don't really know something until you go through it. So could I see myself in another uniform? Yeah, it's possible.

It's rare for a guy to be on one team his whole career. But what I love to be in the likes of Eli Manning, Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber. Yeah, but at the same time, I'm not naive and I'm not, I'm not a fool anymore. I'm at ease that whatever happens, I would love for it to be done but if it can't and I'm able to move on, I would love to go to a team where I can help them win the Super Bowl for sure.

How would you sum up these years as a Giant as someone who grew up in the area?
My mom and dad, my brothers and sisters are right down the road. It's an hour drive hours and change. My lady's family is right down the road so anytime we have holidays, whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, some guys come to my house or go to other houses.

I was a Jets fan growing up but I used to go from Pa. to New York, we used to drive by the stadium all the time. And so I wanted to play in that stadium and I thought it was gonna be for the Jets at one point, but it ended up being for the Giants and my six years here have been amazing.

I've been able to make fans with the stuff I do on the field and the stuff I do in my community. I wouldn't trade anything for it.

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