Going into the 2023 offseason, there were questions surrounding what was next for running back Saquon Barkley and his unsettled contract situation with the New York Giants. The team placed a franchise tag on Barkley, which he did not sign, and the two sides failed to reach a long-term deal before the franchise tag deadline. Things only got more complicated from there.
Unhappy with the $10.1 million, fully guaranteed one-year deal, Barkley said he would consider sitting out the 2023 season to show the team his worth.
On July 25, the two sides finally came to an agreement, although not a long-term deal. Instead, Barkley and the Giants agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday worth up to $11 million, with the opportunity to increase his franchise tag value for 2024.
A lot has gone down between Barkley and the Giants. Below is a timeline to keep track of everything that happened this offseason and how we got to this point:
Jan. 23: Barkley seeks ‘realistic’ deal, wants to stay in New York
“I’m not too concerned about resetting any markets,” Barkley says. “I’m realistic. I know where I was on pace to do. But having two years filled with injuries and having a season of not performing to a level I know I can perform doesn’t help.” Barkley also made it known he wants to remain a Giant. “I couldn’t imagine that being the last time being in a Giants uniform,” he said. “But that’s just the nature of the business; I can’t control any of that. It comes with it. I’ve been vocal about how I feel, and I’m excited for the future no matter what happens.”
June 11: Barkley plans to miss minicamp, considers holding out
The team learns just how serious Barkley is about getting a new deal: When minicamps opened in June, he did not attend. “I think they’re open to talking. I’m open to talking,” Barkley says, via ESPN. “I think at the end of the day, if you really break it down and look at it as a whole, there is no rush. There is still time on the table to get to July 17.”
July 12: RB disputes reported contract offer
Barkley reportedly wants more than $16M per year on a new deal, which would have made him one of the NFL’s highest-paid RBs. The Giants extend an offer to Barkley worth $13M annually and includes $26 million over the first two years, according to Pro Football Talk. That offer is made prior to the deadline to apply the franchise tag, but comes with the message from the team that it would rescind the offer if it applies the tag. After seeing this report, however, Barkley takes to social media to dispute that offer from New York.
July 12: Barkley holdout gets more realistic
If a new long-term deal doesn’t get reached before the July 17 franchise tag deadline, Barkley’s availability for Week 1 will be in serious question, according to ESPN. Once the deadline passes, the veteran will not be eligible to be re-signed until after the 2023 season.
July 14: Giants offer Barkley deal with $19.5M guaranteed
The Giants reportedly offer Barkley up to $19.5 million guaranteed on a long-term deal with an undisclosed amount of years. If the deal would be for two years, Barkley could actually receive more money taking two years of the franchise tag ($10.091 million guaranteed. The $19.5 million would give Barkley the sixth-highest guaranteed money for a running back in the league, $500,000 behind Nick Chubb’s $20 million. Rookie Bijan Robinson, who’s fourth in guaranteed money at $21,958,544, hasn’t played an NFL snap yet.
July 17: Franchise tag deadline passes with no deal
The franchise tag deadline comes and goes as the two sides fail to work out a long-term deal in time.
July 17: ‘It is what it is’
Barkley tweets out, “It is what it is” after he and the Giants are unable to come to terms on a long-term deal before the franchise tag deadline.
July 21: F— the Giants
Barkley doesn’t hold back about how he could respond to not getting a long-term deal. “My leverage is I could say, ‘f— you’ to the Giants. I could say, ‘f— you to my teammates,'” Barkley says on “The Money Matters” podcast on YouTube. “And be like, ‘You want me to show you my worth? You want me to show you how valuable I am to the team? I won’t show up. I won’t play a down.’ And that’s a play I could use.”
July 21: Barkley removes Giants from social media
Barkley removes mention of the Giants from all of his social media platforms.
July 25: Barkley and Giants reach one-year deal
Barkley and the Giants finally agree to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million, after several months dealing with contract drama. Barkley will now report to training camp as he and the Giants can now fully focus on the season ahead.
The Giants could franchise tag Barkley again next year. Barkley has the chance to increase his franchise tag value to up to $13.2 million in 2024, or a $24.2 million payout over two years, according to Spotrac. The only other running backs with higher two-year cash outputs are San Francisco 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey ($30.5 million) and the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry ($26 million).
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