Giants’ Saquon Barkley prepared to sit out 2023

It’s an indisputable fact that Saquon Barkley, New York Giants star running back, is the team’s premier offensive player.

Despite the addition of Darren Waller and a host of talented receivers this off-season by General Manager Joe Schoen, Barkley has served as the Giants’ offensive linchpin for several years.

Seeking a long-term contract extension and recognition, Barkley was displeased when the Giants assigned him the franchise tag. While this would provide him with a guaranteed $10.1 million for the 2023 season, Barkley seeks a commitment spanning multiple seasons.

The former 2nd-overall pick running back aspires to be a lifelong Giant, but the team has a different offensive strategy in mind: the development of a potent passing attack that doesn’t involve hefty investments in a position historically prone to injuries.

This isn’t a reflection on Barkley but rather a strategic choice suggesting that overcompensating running backs isn’t beneficial.

“Me getting tagged, was I upset about it? Nobody wants to get tagged,” Barkley said, via Jordan Raanan of ESPN. “To sit here and say I was frustrated, I was mad, I was upset, what really got me upset was the stories that got leaked out and how misleading they were and how untruthful they were.”

The Giants know Saquon Barkley is still a force of nature:

Still at the height of his career at 26 years old, Barkley accrued 1,650 yards from scrimmage last season. Following his exceptional rookie season, this was the second-highest total of his career. Having fully rebounded from his 2020 ACL injury, Saquon is eager to contribute to a winning team, and the Giants appear to be moving in the right direction.

The dynamic athlete remains hopeful that both parties can reach a fair agreement that acknowledges his worth without demeaning him.

“I think they’re open to talking. I’m open to talking,” Barkley said. “I think at the end of the day, if you really break it down and look at it as a whole, there is no rush. There is still time on the table to get to July 17. July 17 is not tomorrow. It’s not in a week. That is how I look at it. Maybe that is the naïve way to look at it, I could be completely wrong. But for me, that’s how I look at it. I could be completely wrong. Hopefully. I trust in the Giants that we could get something done.”

In truth, the Giants are a stronger team with Saquon, considering his positive influence in the locker room and his undeniable talent, which can alter the trajectory of a game in an instant.

The Giants have until July 17 to secure a multi-year contract extension. Beyond this date, the two parties cannot agree on an extension until after the subsequent season.

While there is ample time for ongoing negotiations, Barkley is willing to hold out if an agreement is not reached. Although it’s highly improbable that he would forgo $10.1 million, the Giants aren’t expected to be very flexible with their offer, if they even have one at this stage.

Given that the Minnesota Vikings recently released a fully fit and dominant Dalvin Cook, saving $14 million, Barkley’s prospects for a lofty contract are becoming increasingly bleak.

“That comes up in the conversation if something doesn’t get done by July 17,” said Barkley, who also specified that is not something he’s thought about much yet.