Giants will not franchise tag star RB Saquon Barkley ahead of deadline

nfl: philadelphia eagles at new york giants, saquon barkley
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will not be placing the franchise tag on star running back Saquon Barkley this offseason, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The deadline to use the franchise/transition tags for all NFL franchises is at 4 PM EST today, Tuesday, March 5th. Instead, the Giants will consider whether or not they will use a tag on safety Xavier McKinney.

The Giants are not tagging Saquon Barkley this year

Last offseason, the Giants hit Barkley with the franchise tag — a move that disgruntled their biggest superstar. Barkley and New York eventually came to terms on a revised version of the franchise tag; a one-year deal worth the same amount as the tag, but with added incentives baked in.

If the Giants wanted to tag Barkley again this offseason, rather than paying the $10.1 million from last season, the price would jump to over $12 million. Instead, Barkley will have an opportunity to negotiate with other teams in hopes of finding the long-term deal he has been seeking.

According to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post, Barkley and the Giants never traded concrete offers this offseason:

“They ultimately decided to let the market set his value and not create more animosity with another tag,” Dunleavy reports.

At 27 years old, Barkley likely views this offseason as his last opportunity to cash in on a long-term contract. He will have suitors in free agency as Barkley proved to still be a quality rusher in 2023, totaling 962 yards and six touchdowns on the ground with an extra 280 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.

Barkley has been linked to a few teams in free agency already, including the Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans.

The Giants would still like to bring Barkley back, per Paul Schwartz of The Post. However, they “had no interest in paying him $12.1 million this season,” therefore the franchise tag was not an option. Now, Barkley will hit the open market with a chance to cash in on a major deal.

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