Giants in danger of losing Saquon Barkley over franchise tag disputes

nfl: new york giants at buffalo bills, saquon barkley
Oct 15, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason will mark the second straight year that the New York Giants will be prepared to offer Saquon Barkley the franchise tag.

The superstar running back is not happy about the way Giants brass has failed to ink him into a lucrative multi-year deal.

Giants: Saquon Barkley’s Level of Care Regarding Contract Negotiations is a Cause For Concern

As Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports reported, Barkley was blunt in his thoughts regarding the potential looming offer:

“They did it last year, so I’m numb to it,” Barkley said. “I don’t have any feelings toward that at all. If you’re gonna do it, just don’t wait until March 5. Just get it over with. If not, let me go. Simple.”

Last year, the Giants made QB Daniel Jones their main guy with a four-year, $160 million deal following their 9-7 season and first playoff appearance since 2016.

Barkley settled for the franchise tag but has been vocal about it not sitting particularly well with him throughout the 2023 season.

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Barkley Was Among the Highest Earners at RB in 2023 Despite Franchise Tag

Though the label of the tag comes with its share of preconceived notions, Barkley was still the eighth-highest-paid running back in 2023, tied with Tony Pollard at a $10.09 million salary, per USA Today.

Barkley, 26, has battled injuries that have robbed him of time on the field. Most recently, a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2 kept him out of three regular-season matchups this year.

Nevertheless, Barkley managed to finish with 962 rushing yards and a 70.2 player grade from Pro Football Focus. Had he played all 17 games, his 68.7 yards per contest would have put him on pace to finish with 1,168 yards which would have ranked No. 3 in the NFL behind Los Angeles Rams RB Kyren Williams.

Will the Giants Rue the Day Should Barkley Leave New York?

It’s clear that Barkley’s productivity has him among the league’s elite rushers. It’s even clearer that he is New York’s most valuable asset, especially on the offensive side of the football.

The Giants have not been gung ho in verbally committing to giving Barkley the long-term security and compensation he desires and is worth. Nevertheless, between now and March 5, the front office will have a crucial decision to make.

An overabundance of quarterbacks on the roster and in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft will make the Giants’ depth chart at the position more than equipped heading into next season. The opposite can be said at running back. Should Barkley walk later this winter, the Giants may look back and regret not doing everything in their power to retain him.