The New York Giants are struggling to come to terms with superstar running back Saquon Barkley on a contract extension. New York placed the franchise tag on Barkley earlier this offseason before taking their contract offer off the table ahead of the NFL Draft.
Following the draft, general manager Joe Schoen was expected to resume talks with Barkley and his representatives. Now a month removed from the draft, Barkley and the Giants are still far apart in contract negotiations, with guaranteed money believed to be the “sticking point.”
Giants and Saquon Barkley struggling to find common ground
“The unknown in all the reported offers thus far — including the initial one made last season — is the amount of guaranteed money included,” writes Dunleavy.
Barkley reportedly rejected an offer worth up to $14 million earlier this offseason. The offer, according to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post, “was inflated by incentives” and is no longer on the table.
While $14 million per season may sound attractive, the guarantees are unknown. Barkley has no reason to agree to a contract with less than $22 million guaranteed across the first two seasons.
Barkley’s salary on the franchise tag in 2023 is fully guaranteed at $10.1 million. If he plays on the tag and gets tagged again next off-season, his 2024 salary will be fully guaranteed at $12.1 million.
Unless the Giants offer Barkley a deal paying him more guaranteed money than two years of the franchise tag, the superstar running back has no reason to agree to a contract.
“If the assumption is that only his first two years are guaranteed for just $22 million, there’s no deal to be made then,” NFL contracts expert Joel Corry of CBSSports.com told The New York Post. “I would counter with the last time a running back was franchise tagged and got a long-term deal, the Titans didn’t do Derrick Henry that way. They gave him $25.5 million guaranteed over two.”
Giants lowered their contract offer
According to Dunleavy, the Giants lowered their contract offer following the 2023 NFL Draft.
“The Giants returned to the negotiating table after the NFL draft talking about a smaller figure than the $13 million per year annually that Barkley previously rejected before the running-back market tanked,” Dunleavy writes.
Barkley and the Giants seem to be moving in the wrong direction, pulling further away from a contract agreement. If New York is unwilling to increase the amount of money guaranteed in their offers, they will run the risk of losing Barkley.
It seems increasingly likely that Barkley will play on the tag, earning a fully guaranteed salary for the 2023 season, and look to be extended or run it back on the tag once again in 2024. Unless the Giants can guarantee him more money than the franchise tag, Barkley has no reason to sign a long-term deal.
The deadline for Barkley to sign a long-term extension is July 17th, so the two sides have time to negotiate a deal. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the course of the summer as Barkley will be absent from all offseason programming.