The WORST thing the New York Giants could do for the struggling and banged-up Saquon Barkleyis force him to sit the rest of the season ... so says the team's all-time leading rusher, Tiki Barber.
The G-Men are having a terrible season -- they're 2-8 and going nowhere fast -- and there's been talk that sitting the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year is the smart move for the future.
FYI, Barkley has had a rough go of it the last few weeks -- culminating in the worst game of his career against the then 1-win NY Jets -- when he rushed for 1 yard on 13 carries ... and according to coach Pat Shurmur, got banged up during the game.
So, when we saw Tiki in NYC -- the best running back in franchise history -- we asked him if Giants brass should force Barkley to hang up his cleats until next season.
His answer ... hell no.
"I don't think they should shut him down. I think that would be detrimental to his psyche, 'cause he wants to be out there playing," Barber tells us.
"I think limiting his carries might be smart going forward. Get Wayne Gallman some runs, and try to keep [Saquon] as healthy as possible."
We also talked to Barber about rookie QB Daniel Jones -- who's thrown a bunch of TDs (15) -- but has also fumbled the ball at an alarming rate (13 times).
Remember, Tiki had a fumbling issue before NYG head coach Tom Coughlin changed the way the RB carried the ball … turning him into a star.
Despite putting the ball on the ground way too often, Barber thinks Jones has a bright future in NYC.
"He's having some turnover issues. But, the timing is so different and the speed is so different in the NFL. That's what's causing him to hold on to the ball a little bit longer than he should," Tiki says.
"But, he's gonna be fine. I love him as a player. I think he's got the right attitude, mentality to be a star in this league and to take this team far. But, he's young. He's still a rookie."