What happens if the Giants and Saquon Barkley don’t make a deal by Monday?

saquon barkley, new york giants
Jan 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have yet to come to terms on a long-term contract extension with superstar running back Saquon Barkley. New York placed the tag on Barkley in February and has been struggling to negotiate a new deal with their star player ever since.

The two sides have until Monday, July 17th at 4 p.m. no reach an agreement. If no deal is agreed to by that deadline, Barkley will have to stay on the $10.1 million franchise tag for the entire 2023 season. But what will happen if no deal is reached by Monday’s deadline? Things get complicated as Barkley contemplates sitting out this season.

Giants and Saquon Barkley at a “stalemate”

According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Giants and Barkley “remain at a stalemate” ahead of Monday’s deadline. Playing on the franchise tag is “undesirable” to Barkley as he is seeking a long-term deal matching the value of his impact on his team.

Could Saquon Barkley sit out the 2023 regular season?

Russini reports that Barkley’s availability for Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys “will be in serious question” if a deal is not reached by Monday.

Barkley could elect to hold out for the regular season in an effort to gain leverage against the Giants. Things did not necessarily go as planned for the last couple of running backs to hold out into the regular season.

History says Barkley should plan, NOT holdout

Le’Veon Bell’s 2018 contract holdout has been previously described as a “historic disaster.” Bell has since reflected on his holdout, expressing regret for his “petty” decision:

“Obviously, I (we, whoever) wish things would’ve played out differently in 2018, like if I legit had a time machine to go back to 2018, that would be soo litttt. For soo many reasons but I don’t … all I can do, all WE can do is keep moving forward with life… & life has taught me a lot of valuable lessons & formed me into the person i am today.” 

Le’Veon Bell expressed regret over his holdout decision via Instagram

Melvin Gordon tried his luck with a holdout as well in 2019. He too has since said that he regrets his decision:

“I probably would come back. Just because my legacy of what I’m trying to do as a player and the mark that I’m trying to leave. Obviously, those are games I can’t get back. I started out slow and being able to catch my stride toward the end of the season, but then it’s too late. I would say more so for my legacy and what I can do for a career as a player more so than anything else.”

“I mean it was tough but, I definitely felt like I ruined some relationships. It’s all part of it… Obviously, I can’t take back what I did. What I did was done. And now I’m here.”

Melvin Gordon reflecting on his 2019 holdout per NFL.com

If history is any indicator, a holdout would be a regrettable decision for Saquon Barkley. Not only does he risk missing out on even more guaranteed money, he also risks damaging his relationships with teammates, and coaches, and ultimately tarnishing his legacy. Based on the sequences of events for Bell and Gordon, Barkley would likely benefit most from playing on the fully-guaranteed $10.1 million franchise tag in 2023 as opposed to sitting out the year.

No deal, no Saquon at training camp

Regardless of whether or not Barkley plays this season, he is very unlikely to participate in training camp without a new deal. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan wrote on Twitter: “The takeaway from this is that if there is no deal by Monday … we won’t see Saquon Barkley at training camp or likely until some time in September or later.”

Barkley is currently not under contract with New York since he has not yet signed his franchise tag. Until he does so, he is not required to show up to any practices or team activities. The Giants cannot fine Barkley for being absent while the tag is still unsigned. Because of this, there is not much incentive for Barkley to show up to training camp. In all likelihood, Barkley will continue to train on his own away from the team until the regular season; or possibly longer.