Giants’ Saquon Barkley rejected initial contract extension, per report

new york giants, saquon barkley
Dec 4, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) scores a rushing touchdown during the first half against the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is set to become a free agent this offseason. Barkley just set a new career-high with 1,312 rushing yards this season and is looking to cash in on a new contract extension with the Giants. According to Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports, Saquon Barkley turned down the Giants’ initial offer of an extension worth around $12 million a year.

Giants and Saquon Barkley to negotiate contract extension

Saquon Barkley was the Giants’ most productive skill position player this season. The superstar running back was selected for the Pro Bowl Games after totaling 1,312 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and 338 receiving yards in the regular season. Saquon delivered during a contract-year and has undoubtedly earned an extension with the Giants. However, Barkley and the Giants seem to have a bit of distance on the valuation of the running back’s contract.

At the Giants’ end-of-season press conference, general manager Joe Schoen shed light on the Giants’ mid-season contract negotiations with their star running back. The conversations were “productive,” but, ultimately, Barkley and the Giants “weren’t really that close.”

We had productive conversations. We were off on the value. Again, we said we would circle back up at the end of the season and continue those conversations, but that time of year, we weren’t really that close I would think.

New York Giants GM Joe Schoen on mid-season negotiations with Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

Reports indicate that the initial offer the Giants gave Saquon Barkley was $12 million per season. An average salary of $12 million per season would tie Saquon Barkley as the seventh-highest-paid running back in the NFL. Barkley, however, seems to be looking to get paid in that next tier of running backs. Christian McCaffery is the highest-paid running back in the NFL, earning an average salary of over $16 million per year. Barkley recently told the media he’s not looking to “reset the market,” but a recent report indicates that Saquon is looking to at least match the salary of McCaffery.

The Giants are projected to have about $53 million in salary cap space this offseason. That money will dry up quickly, though, with impending free agents Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley both looking for lucrative extensions. It is difficult to imagine the Giants parting ways with Barkley this offseason, but the devaluation of the running back position could make this a difficult negotiation to complete.