Saquon Barkley sidesteps contractual holdout with Giants

Posted on: July 25, 2023, 10:44h. 

Last updated on: July 25, 2023, 10:44h.

Running back Saquon Barkley signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants, effectively ending speculation that he would sit out this season due to a contract dispute.

Saquon Barkley
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley scampers for a first down. (Image: Getty)

Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported that Barkley could earn up to $11 million this season with a signing bonus worth $2 million.

Barkley will have a base salary of $10.09 million with an additional $910,000 in incentives.

The new deal does not have a “no franchise tag” clause, so the Giants can tag him again next season.

Veterans are expected to report to training camp today, and Barkley will be on the field after signing his new deal.

A trio of running backs including Barkley, Tony Pollard from the Dallas Cowboys, and Josh Jacobs from the Las Vegas Raiders did not sign contract extensions, but all three fell under a franchise tag. Pollard is expected to sign the Cowboys’ current offer, but Jacobs looks like he’s headed for a holdout.

Dual-Threat Barkley Became Breakout Star in 2018

Barkley, 26, was a star running back at Penn State and was selected by the Giants with the second-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Barkley emerged as a dual-threat running back during his rookie season. In 16 games in 2018, he scored 15 total touchdowns, including 11 rushing scores and four TD receptions. He rushed 261 times for 1,307 yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry. He also added 91 receptions for 721 yards and 7.9 yards per catch. Barkley was named the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year by the NFL.

In 2019, Barkley sustained a high ankle sprain but returned after missing only three games. He rushed 217 times for 1,003 yards in 13 games that season. In 2020, he tore his ACL in Week 2 and appeared in only two games. In 2021, Barkley missed four games due to another high ankle sprain. Despite these injuries, Barkley had a strong 2022 season, rushing for 1,312 yards in 16 games. He was ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards last season.

Barkley Bets on Himself

The Giants and Barkley attempted to negotiate a contract extension but could not reach a deal by the July deadline.

The NFL has seen a decrease in salaries for running backs due to the league’s shift towards a pass-first approach. Barkley’s injury history, including high ankle sprains and a reconstructed knee, made the Giants hesitant to meet his demands for guaranteed money. Barkley rejected a three-year extension that would have paid him approximately $13 million per season, with only $19.5 million guaranteed.

“It is what it is,” Barkley tweeted after negotiations broke down.

Barkley faces the reality that the NFL is a business and that players have to negotiate their contracts. He has the option to test free agency next offseason and could secure a better contract if he remains healthy and performs well this season.

Heading into this upcoming season, ESPN ranked Barkley fourth in their fantasy football projections for running backs.

Futures Market: Betting the Giants in 2023

The Giants have signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a multi-year extension and have secured Barkley for at least this upcoming season.

After finishing 9-7-1 last season, the Giants are projected to win 7.5 games this season according to the over/under. They are +160 odds to make the playoffs and -190 odds to miss the playoffs, as per DraftKings. The Giants are +6500 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII and +2500 odds to win the NFC Championship.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the favorites to win the NFC East, followed by the Dallas Cowboys, Giants, and Washington Commanders. The Giants are projected to finish in third place in their division.

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