Why it matters: Barkley is one of the best in his position.
Barkley, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been a mainstay of the Giants offense since the team drafted him No. 2 overall in 2018, giving the team an identity during his transition from longtime linebacker Eli Manning.
He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in his senior season, and his explosive runs helped turn him into a face for the league, even as ankle and knee injuries kept him out for 21 games from 2019-21.
Barkley recovered last season to help lead the Giants (9-7-1) to their first playoff appearance since the 2016 season. Behind 1,312 yards on 295 carries (both fourth-best in the NFL) and 10 rushing touchdowns, the Giants were a top-five rushing team and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground compared to 17 passes.
The team’s decision to offer Barkley the franchise tag was a point of discussion in NFL circles, with even members of the Giants’ rivals speaking on his behalf. In April, the Cowboys’ defensive end argued Micah Parsons on Twitter That Barkley is the focus of the Giants offense. He wrote, “The scheme Monday morning is we don’t let Saquon Barkley beat us!!” ‘, adding, ‘Pay him!
Background: Long-term deals for running backs are averse to teams.
Barkley will likely be looking for a deal on par with the high earners in his job.
The four-year rookie deal was worth $31.19 million and the team picked him up for $7.2 million last season.
Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers has the highest median salary at $16 million, and Alvin Kamara of the Saints earns $15 million. Derrick Henry of the Titans, Nick Chubb of the Browns, and Joe Mixon of the Bengals each earn at least $12 million annually on their deals.
Bless me He scoffed at last week’s report He said he sought $16 million a year and continued to upload social media accounts with pictures from his off-season workouts.
But he may be negotiating too hard for his personal game and charging a better market value for running backs, whose average compensation has fallen.
“The trend right now is to not pay the outstanding amounts, so everyone is saying, ‘Well, we don’t have to do that either at that time,’” said Eckleradding that it would take a top performer to hold out or sign a major long-term deal to reverse the trend.
Josh Jacobs of the Raiders and Tony Pollard of the Cowboys also failed to reach long-term deals with their teams and are expected to play under the franchise tag, which is the average salary for the top five players at that player position. The number for running backs pales in comparison to quarterbacks ($32.4 million this year), offensive linemen ($18.24 million) or even tight ends ($11.35 million).
If Barkley accepts the Giants’ tag, the two sides cannot negotiate a long-term deal until after the end of the regular season.
If he does not accept the sign, Barkley can hold out and not play. He will not be deducted for missed training camp dates, but he will forfeit his paycheck if he sits out games. The Giants could also vacate the franchise tag, a highly unlikely move that would make Barkley an unrestricted free agent.
The most likely outcome: Barclay holds out temporarily to make his displeasure known but ends up reporting back to camp. He has said repeatedly that he would like to retire as a giant and changed his representation to facilitate negotiations. He is currently represented by Kim Miali of Roc Nation and Ed Perry of Creative Artists Agency.
When the regular season is over, the Giants and Barkley can have talks that will likely end in a deal being done. He’s been a stable figure in the locker room that has seen three different coaches in Barkley’s tenure, and the team’s reliance on Barkley’s offense and quarterback Daniel Jones isn’t going to wane any time soon.