One of the New York Giants‘ most important players, Saquon Barkley, has yet to sign the franchise tag the team used on him in March.
Barkley was selected second overall by the Giants during the 2018 NFL Draft. Through five seasons, he has rushed for over 4,200 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns. The 26-year-old has also made two Pro Bowl appearances.
Barkley’s tag is estimated at $10.1 million for the 2023 NFL season, placing him inside the top ten best-paid rushers. However, Barkley reportedly has no desire to play under the franchise tag. So — can he and the Giants agree to a long-term deal before the July 17 deadline? Here’s a look at the situation thus far and what we can expect moving forward.
According to the New York Post, Barkley is looking for a deal worth roughly $14 million per year and even rejected a mid-season offer which would have given him more than $12 million annually.
Only two current running backs make more than $12 million a season in total cash; Atlanta’s rookie Bijan Robinson and San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey. When comparing Barkley to McCaffrey, the Giants’ back has averaged 7.8 more rushing yards per game but nearly 20 fewer receiving yards throughout his career.
Spotrac sets Barkley’s market value at $12.3 million, so an asking price of $14 million seems a tad steep, although there’s no doubt Barkley is a necessary piece to the Giants’ offense and should get paid as such.
Outside of Christian McCaffrey, two other running backs that have had similar situations to Barkley are Joe Mixon and Alvin Kamara.
Mixon agreed to a four-year $48 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals before the start of the 2020 NFL season. He was 24 years old when he signed the extension. When comparing, Barkley has averaged more rushing and receiving yards than Mixon with fewer carries.
New Orleans extended Kamara in 2020 when the running back was 25. The extension was worth $75 million over five years, with two void years added on the back end.
Kamara has averaged three fewer carries than Barkley over his NFL career, although the Saints star has the advantage in the passing game (roughly 12 more receiving yards per game).
During his Thursday press conference, Giants’ head coach Brian Daboll didn’t want to comment on the contract dispute.
“With Saquon, that situation is going to be between Saquon and the organization,” Daboll said. “I’m not going to get into detail with any of the discussions that we’ve had.”
General Manager Joe Schoen has expressed interest in keeping Barkley on the Giants.
“Saquon’s a very good football player,” Schoen said earlier this month while appearing on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “I love him. We want him to be here, but you’ve got to have a deal where both parties are happy with where you end up. That’s what we’re going to try to work for and see if we can get something we can both agree on.”
Barkley missing this week’s voluntary OTAs is nothing to be worried about for Giants fans. Star players do it all the time during contract disputes, and missing a few snaps with no contact will not negatively affect the team.
The date you will want to watch is July 17, the final day that teams and franchise players can agree to a lengthy contract extension.
Overall, it makes sense for both sides to work out a multi-year deal worth somewhere between $12 million and $13 million annually. If it all works out, New York gets to keep their star player, Barkley gets paid what he believes is fair, and the team gets to be competitive for years to come.
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