The New York Giants still have yet to come to terms on a long-term contract extension with star running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants placed the franchise tag on Barkley in February after failing to reach an agreement.
Since then, the two sides have had conversations, though they have seemingly been unproductive. According to Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports, “it doesn’t sound like a long-term deal for Barkley is particularly close.”
The Giants are “unlikely to increase their offer by much, if at all,” per Vacchiano. “A deal will only be possible if the unhappy Barkley’s asking price comes down.”
The Giants and Saquon Barkley are not close to an extension
Barkley reportedly rejected an offer of $12.5 million per season during the team’s bye week last season. According to Paul Schwartz of The New York Post, one prominent player agent described Barkley’s decision to turn down an offer in the $12 million-$13 million a year range as “dumb” as long as the structure was fair — about 60 percent in guaranteed money.
The agent now believes that Barkley’s market value has fallen quite significantly. Schwartz writes, “The agent believes the framework for a market-value Barkley deal should now average around $8 million or $9 million per year and that a three-year, $30 million package — with a guarantee of about $18 million — would be ‘pretty rich.'”
Running back: A dying market
The market for running backs fell apart this offseason. Barkley was one of three running backs to get slapped with the franchise tag. Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard were also tagged this offseason and neither player has been able to come to an agreement on a long-term deal with their respective team.
Miles Sanders was the highest-paid running back in free agency this offseason. Sanders signed a four-year, $25.4 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, paying him an average of $6.35 million per year. As the top running back available in free agency, Sanders’ $6.35 million reset the market in the wrong direction for the top talents at the position.
Considering the new market, Barkley would also likely to struggled to top the $10.1 million that he will make on the franchise tag if he were to become a free agent. The tag gives New York all the leverage in negotiations.
Giants choosing to hedge their bets
The Giants added RB Eric Gray in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Per Vacchiano, this move was not made just to add depth behind Barkley, but also to “help the team ‘hedge our bets’ in case Barkley leaves as a free agent next March.”
Gray will serve as New York’s second rusher in the backfield, lightening the load for Barkley if he plays on the franchise tag this upcoming season. However, the Giants do have some added long-term insurance now with Gray under contract for the next four years.
The Giants and Barkley have until the July 17 deadline to sign a multi-year contract extension. If no deal is in place by then, Barkley will have to play out the year on the tag, leaving his future in New York past 2023 a mystery.