The New York Giants and their premier running back Saquon Barkley failed to find common ground by the 4 PM extension deadline on Monday, leaving the franchise tag as the only play.
While the Giants were willing to increase their offer to a guaranteed $22 million, they proposed lowering the annual salary in a potential deal. Unimpressed, Barkley’s representatives promptly dismissed this proposal.
The Giants’ Leverage in Contract Talks
The Giants held a significant advantage in these contract discussions. They could effectively secure Barkley for $22 million, guaranteed by two consecutive franchise tags, but retain the flexibility to reassess after the upcoming season. In contrast, a long-term deal would have committed a substantial amount of money for the longer term.
With key expenses looming, like extending Andrew Thomas next year and Dexter Lawrence’s contract kicking in from 2024, the Giants were always reluctant to overspend on the running back position. It’s not about Barkley as an individual; it’s about the declining value of the running back role in recent seasons.
Ideally, Barkley will deliver a strong performance in 2023, prompting the Giants to apply the franchise tag again at $12 million. This way, Barkley achieves his desired salary, albeit without long-term guarantees.
Barkley’s Impressive Track Record
Barkley is coming off a fantastic 2022 season, recording 1,312 rushing yards, 338 receiving yards, and ten total touchdowns.
At the age of 26, Barkley is in his prime. However, he now faces a critical decision: should he play under the franchise tag at $10.1 million or sit out to apply pressure on the Giants? The Giants believe that passing on a $10 million opportunity is not a wise strategy for Barkley. Therefore, they remain confident that he will attend training camp eventually, even if it means making his statement by skipping the initial stages and showing up for the Week 1 clash against the Dallas Cowboys.