Devin Singletary shrugs off comparisons to Saquon Barkley after joining the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Devin Singletary understands there are going to be immediate comparisons to Saquon Barkley, the running back he's replacing for the New York Giants, and he is not concerned.

All he can do is be himself, and hope he helps the Giants win in 2024.

“You know, Saquon is great,” Singletary said Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time since signing a three-year, $16.5 million contract. “Everyone knows that. I’m just happy to be a Giant, you know, looking forward to a great opportunity here. I’m ready to get to work.”

While Singletary has never had a 1,000-yard rushing season like Barkley, the two have similar versatility as runners and pass-catchers.

“Man, that’s really what it comes down to, me, just being me, ready to help the team win any way that I can,” said Singletary, who played for Houston last season.

Barkley was the main cog in the Giants' offense for the past six seasons until he left earlier this week to sign a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the rival Philadelphia Eagles.

Hours after he and the Eagles reached the agreement Monday, the Giants came to terms with Singletary.

Barkley's departure opened up the No. 26 jersey, the one Barkley had worn since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2018, a season he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Singletary came into the league the following year as a third-round pick by Buffalo, where he worked with Giants coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. He also was handed No. 26 and he intends to keep wearing it.

"That’s the number I’m sticking with,” he said.

Singletary described himself as smart, dependable and a hard worker. He believes he can be shifty while running with power and that he is growing as a player.

Singletary, who will turn 27 in September, ran for 898 yards and four touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 193 yards for the Texans. He has rushed for 4,049 yards and 20 TDs in 78 career games and caught 175 passes for 1,164 yards and four touchdowns.

Barkley, 27, has 5,211 yards rushing and 35 TDs, while catching 288 passes for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for 962 yards and six TDs and caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns in his final season with New York.

The Giants also acquired edge rusher Brian Burns in a trade with Carolina this week, and they agreed to terms with linemen Jon Runyan Jr. and Jeremiah Eluemunor, quarterback Drew Lock, safety Jalen Mills and receiver Isaiah McKenzie.

Runyan is the son of former Eagles offensive tackle and current NFL executive Jon Runyan Sr., who is remembered for his matchups with Giants Hall of Famer Michael Strahan in in the late 1990s and 2000s.

“I kind of understand the whole NFC East rivalry between all these teams here. It’s some tough, gritty football," said the younger Runyan, who grew up in South Jersey. “Watching my dad and Michael go at it twice a year was always fun growing up, watching it go down on Monday night or ‘Sunday Night Football.’ I’m just happy to be part of it.”

Eluemunor, whose father was Nigerian, was born in London and moved to New Jersey when he was 14, where he became a Giants fan. His favorite player was defensive end Osi Unmenyiora, who also had British-Nigerian roots. He intends to wear No. 72, like Unmenyiora.

“For me coming here to this franchise was always a dream,” Eluemunor said Thursday. “You say they haven’t won that much, but I’ve watched them a number of times. Who knows? Maybe I’m the missing piece for helping them get towards that. My goal is to help them win.”

Burns has recorded 46 sacks in 80 career games (67 starts). His sack total is tied for 12th in the NFL since he entered the league, while his 59 tackles for loss are tied for sixth-most in that span.

“They’re getting somebody that’s coming to work, always be professional, always be a pro, that’s number one,” Burns said. “Other than that, I’m coming to work, I’m relentless. They’re getting a playmaker.”