Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants have found a temporary solution regarding the star running back’s contract. While it isn’t a long-term deal, the two sides have agreed to an adjusted one-year deal that will replace the franchise tag, up to $11 million and includes a $2 million signing bonus, according to NFL Media and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson. Barkley, who was initially slated to play under the team’s franchise tag, will be in attendance when the Giants begin training camp on Wednesday.
A one-year deal was the only other option for Barkley sans signing the team’s franchise tag, given that he and the Giants missed the mid-July window to sign a long-term deal.
The two sides have been unable to come to terms on the deal after initially beginning talks during the Giants’ bye week last season. New York had reportedly made Barkley an offer that would have paid him an annual average salary of $14 million. The deal’s structure and guaranteed money prevented that deal from coming to fruition. New York then pivoted to using the franchise tag that would have paid Barkley $10.091 million fully guaranteed for the 2023 season.
The one-year deal ensures that Barkley will not hold out this season. It also keeps the door open for Barkley to resume his career with the Giants once the season is over. On several occasions, Barkley has made it clear that he wants to stay in New York, and the Giants want that as well.
“My dream is that he plays his whole career as a Giant like Eli (Manning) did, like (Michael) Strahan did, like Tiki (Barber) did,” Giants co-owner John Mara said earlier this offseason. “I mentioned to him, ‘Look what they’re doing off the field now.’ I think he would like that as well.
“We’d love to have him. He provides leadership. He’s a great player. We’d like to get something done with him at some point.”
The 2022 season was an important one for Barkley, who played at a Pro Bowl level after injuries dogged him during the previous two seasons. This season, Barkley ran for a career-high 1,312 yards. He also ran for 10 scores while catching 57 passes for 338 yards in 16 regular-season games.
Barkley played an integral role in the Giants’ upset win over the Vikings on Super Wild Card Weekend. He had two touchdowns on the ground while totaling 109 all-purpose yards on 14 touches. Barkley has 82 yards on 11 touches against the Eagles. His 39-yard run helped set up the Giants’ only touchdown.
“I wanted to show them the guy they drafted is still here,” Barkley said of his 2022 season. “I hope I did that. Everyone knows I would love to be a Giant for life, but I really can’t give 100% answers.”
Barkley’s success last season increased his market value, at least on paper. His market value is currently projected at $49.3 million over four years for an annual salary of $12.3 million annually, according to Spotrac. That number, however, does not reflect the current plight of the running back position. Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook and two-time league rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott remained unsigned. Raiders running back and reigning league rushing champion Josh Jacobs has yet to sign his franchise tag. Things have gotten so bad that some of the league’s top backs recently conducted a virtual summit to try to find some answers.
To Barkley’s credit, he is not trying to re-set the market for running backs. He is instead trying to be paid in a manner that reflects his value. While his new one-year deal does not reflect his value, it is a step in the right direction.
“I’m not really too concerned with resetting any markets,” Barkley said earlier this offseason. “I’m realistic. I know what I was on pace to do, but having two years of injuries doesn’t help. But I think I was able to show the caliber of player I am.”
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