Giants’ contract talks with Saquon Barkley fell apart despite fruitful conversation with John Mara

New York Giants, John Mara
Oct 15, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Giants president, CEO, and co-owner John Mara before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants failed to agree with Saquon Barkley on a long-term contract extension after placing the franchise tag on him in February. The two sides negotiated throughout the offseason but were unable to close the gap by the July 17th deadline.

In a recent interview with The Money Matters Podcast with Jack Mallers (recorded on July 11th), Barkley opened up on the negotiation process and detailed his interaction with Giants co-owner John Mara that almost got the deal done.

Saquon Barkley met with Giants owner John Mara during the negotiation process

Barkley and the Giants went back and forth all offseason long with different contract offers and counteroffers after the superstar running back rejected an offer made during the team’s bye week. While the two sides were going “tit for tat with offers,” Barkley met with Mara and had a fruitful conversation with the team president before deciding that it was time to “get it done.”

“That was the only time I really got involved in the negotiation process. I sat down with the owner. The owner told me what it was, told me how they care about me. And this is when we were still going tit for tat [with offers] … The owner opened up to me. And I respected that. Like you called me in as a man, you sat me down as a man, we looked each other eye to eye, told me how much you feel about me.

“I let you [Mara] know how much I feel about this place, how much I feel about your family, … how much I feel about [Steve] Tisch’s family. That’s when I picked up the phone and I called my agent and I was like, ‘I don’t care, let’s get it done. Like boom, this is where I want to be, this is the number I’m fine with, boom, let’s get there.’”

Saquon Barkley via The Money Matters Podcast

Things changed after the Giants tagged Barkley

Despite a productive one-on-one conversation with Mara, contract negotiations took a turn for the worst after the Giants placed the franchise tag on their running back.

Barkley described the tag experience, saying “When you get tagged, now they have the tag, now it’s like, ‘You know what Saquon? If we really want to, we don’t have to offer you anything.'”

After tagging Barkley, the Giants continued to negotiate with his representatives but ultimately failed to satisfy his camp with a fair deal. Barkley told his agents, to “get it done,” but New York’s offer never reached a comfortable number for Barkley.

Now, all eyes are on Barkley as he mulls the decision to play or holdout this season. Clearly disgruntled and dissatisfied, Barkley did acknowledge that he has the option to hold out. But he did add that he does “plan on doing” what he has to do this year, seemingly indicating that he will be on the field this regular season. Though, the Pro Bowl running back did acknowledge that it is a big decision that he will take his time to think over.

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