Giants: NFL cap expert predicts a Saquon Barkley extension

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, saquon barkley
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The New York Giants are currently in negotiations with their star running back, Saquon Barkley, regarding a potential contract extension.

Barkley finds himself in a challenging position: choosing to sit out a season during his prime would cost him $10.1 million from the franchise tag. It’s clear that the Giants hold significant leverage in this scenario.

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Earlier Contract Proposal

Several months ago, the Giants had proposed an extension to Barkley. However, they withdrew the offer after the running back market declined and the Minnesota Vikings released star player Dalvin Cook.

Barkley’s Impact

Barkley boasts an impressive record from the 2022 season, earning his second Pro Bowl nomination and recording 1,650 yards from scrimmage, along with 10 scores.

Without Barkley’s contributions over the years, the Giants’ offense would have been significantly weaker. But, the team is now moving towards a more pass-oriented strategy, having invested heavily in wide receivers this off-season. While this shift means fewer touches for the running back position, it could also help keep Barkley healthier and maintain his positive contributions.

Barkley’s Career Stage

At 26 years old, Barkley is still in his prime and expected to perform at high levels for several more years before any potential decline due to injury or other factors. As the July 17 extension deadline approaches, there’s growing optimism that the Giants and Barkley can find common ground.

Voices from the Market

“Barkley has been public both about his dissatisfaction with the Giants’ recent contract offers, and with the possibility of playing out a franchise tag in 2023,” Spotrac co-founder and editor Michael Ginnitti said on Monday. “Something’s going to need to give as the (July 17) extension deadline approaches — because sitting out just hasn’t proven to be the stance it used to be. He’s worth a two-year guarantee, even with the health risks.” 

The Contract Contention

The main contention for Barkley isn’t the annual salary; it’s the lack of guaranteed money due to the inherent risk in the running back position. Ginnitti predicts that the Giants will offer Barkley a four-year extension worth $60 million, with $25 million guaranteed. This agreement is likely to be front-loaded for the first two years, providing an exit strategy if necessary.

Tying Barkley with Daniel Jones

Effectively, the Giants would be linking Barkley with quarterback Daniel Jones, who recently signed a four-year deal himself. Retaining a pivotal player and team leader like Barkley is good business. However, the Giants are likely to set a limit to prevent overspending in a position fraught with risk.

Looking at Alternatives

The team has also recently drafted Eric Gray from Oklahoma, a potential three-down back. Given these circumstances, it would not be surprising if head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka decide to split carries at the RB position in 2023. This strategy could be designed to keep Barkley healthy and ready for the playoffs.