The Giants have Saquon Barkley in a contractual stronghold

new york giants, saquon barkley
Oct 9, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrates after a run in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The reality for New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is clear. He is fighting against a dwindling market that no longer values his position as it used to.

Contract Stalemate Between Barkley and the Giants

Barkley seeks around $22 million in guaranteed money, while the Giants have reportedly offered around $19.5 million, creating a considerable gap that General Manager Joe Schoen remains reluctant to bridge, at least for now.

With the July 17 deadline looming for both parties to reach an agreement, the Giants appear unlikely to exceed their proposed guaranteed salary. Barkley may be compelled to accept a lower figure unless he expects the market to rebound in 2024.

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Evaluating Barkley’s Worth and Performance

At 26, Barkley is in the prime of his career, capable of high-level performances. However, recurring injuries have plagued his seasons, notwithstanding his current 100% health and aspirations to build on a successful 2022 season.

The Giants are reportedly not planning to increase the running back position’s touches; instead, they are leaning toward the passing game. Their trade for Darren Waller and the addition of multiple receivers this off-season reflect this shift in strategy.

Last year, Barkley achieved a career-high of 295 touches in the running game. With the Giants’ evolving game plan, this figure is expected to decrease significantly.

The Franchise Tag Option and Future Prospects

Barkley might have no other option but to play on the $10.1 million franchise tag. This isn’t entirely undesirable, as it covers almost half of his desired guaranteed money. Given the volatility of his position, securing a hefty payout is his primary focus.

In the recent draft, the Giants picked Eric Gray from Oklahoma in the later rounds. While Gray may not match Barkley’s athleticism, he has proven to be a reliable three-down back at the NFL level. His last season saw him clocking 213 rushing attempts and amassing 1,595 yards from scrimmage. His skill in pass blocking and ability to grind out extra yards on the ground are noteworthy.

The Giants may decide to part ways with Barkley after the 2023 season if they can’t find common ground. However, it is indisputable that Barkley enhances the team and is a strong presence in the locker room.

Data-driven Decisions and Future of Running Backs

The Giants prioritize decisions grounded in information, facts, and data. The data suggest that overpaying running backs does not equate to championship success. Yet, at the right price, Barkley’s contract deal is still a possibility.