The New York Giants and their star running back, Saquon Barkley, have reached an impasse in their contract extension negotiations. These discussions have been ongoing for months, tracing back to the BYE week of the previous season.
Joe Schoen, the general manager, proposed a yearly salary of $12.5 million to Barkley, which was promptly dismissed. Nonetheless, Barkley remained interested in observing the development of the free agent market, hoping for a substantial pay rise for running backs, a strategy that dramatically failed.
Instead of making significant investments, teams are turning to the draft to fill the running back position. This was evident when Miles Sanders, a fellow Penn State alumnus, secured a deal for just $6 million per year, a disappointing figure that shattered Barkley’s aspiration for a profitable contract.
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The Giants tried to give Saquon Barkley a fair offer:
Barkley’s impressive performance in the 2022 season, where he earned his second Pro Bowl nomination and rushed for 1,312 yards with ten touchdowns, provides ample justification for a fair salary offer. As an offensive catalyst and team captain, Barkley indisputably enhances the Giants’ overall performance.
However, it’s difficult to argue that he is worth $14 million or more per season at this stage. Recent reports suggest that the Giants had increased their offer to $14 million per year before free agency, which included $1 million in incentives, effectively bringing the base salary to an average annual value (AAV) of $13 million.
According to Bob Brookover of NJ Advance Media, Barkley rejected a revised offer that would’ve paid him up to $14M per season.
The Giants, according to sources, offered Barkley a multi-year deal worth $12.5 million a season at the bye week, then increased that number to $13 million with a chance to get to $14 million in incentives shortly after the season.
Barkley rejected both deals. He and his agent Kim Miale obviously overestimated the running-back market. They could argue that Barkley doesn’t know his true value because he was blocked from testing the free-agent market after the Giants used the franchise tag on him.
The Giants have applied the $10.1 million franchise tag to Barkley, effectively securing his services and likely compelling him to operate under a one-year contract.
Schoen attempted to propose a substantial offer to extend his contract before he became a free agent. However, Barkley’s actions may have significantly depreciated his value, giving the Giants’ general manager more bargaining power.
Given these circumstances, it would not be surprising if Barkley ultimately agreed to a contract worth around $12 million per season, particularly as agents have suggested his market value may have plummeted to less than $10 million.
At 26 years old, Barkley is still in his prime. However, his extensive injury history means the Giants must safeguard their interests by investing judiciously rather than excessively.
Regardless of the circumstances, Barkley will likely secure a reasonable long-term contract with the Giants or another team. His optimal strategy might be to remain with the Giants, as Schoen currently holds the advantage and has demonstrated a keen understanding of the market. His unwavering stance, which has avoided the extremes of Christian McCaffrey’s salary range while still demonstrating respect for his star running back with a commendable offer, has proven to be an effective strategy.