Former Giants RB still views Saquon Barkley as a ‘generational talent’ amid contract dispute

The New York Giants held their mandatory minicamp this week, wrapping up their final practices ahead of training camp. Superstar running back Saquon Barkley was absent from minicamp amid his contract dispute. However, some Giants alumni were in attendance, including former running back Brandon Jacobs.

Jacobs spoke with the media, sharing his opinions on Barkley, and expressing his confidence in the “generational talent” as he seeks a long-term contract extension.

“I see a dynamic, generational talent even still at this age he is, I still see that guy,” Jacobs told the New York Post. “I still see him being super explosive, making stuff happen. I’d say he’s devalued because he feels he’s devalued.”

Former Giants RB Brandon Jacobs rooting for Barkley to get his payday

Like Barkley, Jacobs was once a victim of the franchise tag. The Giants placed the tag on Jacobs following a career-best 2008 season in which Jacobs rushed for 1089 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jacobs recalled this moment when discussing Barkley’s current situation this week.

“They franchised me with the intent to do a deal and we got a deal done,’’ Jacobs said per the New York Post. “They did it to keep me off the market. I wanted to be here so it really didn’t bother me and it was going to be more than they were offering me per year anyway. I didn’t mind it. I showed up, I did everything I needed to do. There was nowhere else I could go and work out so I needed to come here and do that.’’

Unlike Barkley, Jacobs continued to participate in team activities after being tagged. Barkley has continued training, however, he has not yet signed the franchise tender, making him unable to train at the Giants’ facilities. Instead, Barkley has been training elsewhere; most notably in Arizona with the rest of his teammates.

While Jacobs and Barkley were both tagged by the Giants, their two situations were very different. Jacobs signed a four-year, $25 million extension merely twelve days later. Barkley has received (and rejected) offers and had offers pulled from the table over the last four months.

The contract between Barkley and the Giants is just another notable moment in the recent devaluation of the running back position. “Nobody wants to pay running backs,” Jacobs points out.

“I want all running backs to get what they think they’re worth. We’re going through something here with Saquon at the moment.’’

Barkley and New York certainly are going through something. Their negotiations began midway through last season. Jacobs revealed that he spoke to Barkley last year, encouraging him to stay focused.

“I came up here, we talked about his contract being up, I said don’t let it distract him, stay focused on the rest of the season and try not to pay attention to what other people are making,” Jacobs said.

Barkley reportedly rejected an offer valued at around $13 million annually.

“I think the dollar amount they’re offering is great — $13 million a year,” Jacobs said. “I think he wants most of that money front-loaded in his contract, he wants most of it guaranteed. I think that’s the problem we’re dealing with now. I can’t say he’s wrong.”

New York has wrapped its “spring football” and will reconvene in July for training camp. Barkley has until July 17th to sign a multi-year extension with the Giants. If that deadline is not met, Barkley will need to decide whether or not he will play on the franchise tag for the upcoming 2023 season.