As the Giants battle for their first playoff berth since 2016, the front office has some interesting roster decisions to make once the offseason hits. One of those involves running back Saquon Barkley.
General manager Joe Schoen mentioned he’d try and have some contract discussions with players during Big Blue’s Week 9 bye. Nothing seemed to happen between the team and quarterback Daniel Jones. However, New York and Barkley’s camp had “pretty good” conversations, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
New York is in an interesting situation if it’d like to retain both Jones and Barkley. To do that, one would need a new contract, while the other could get some kind of franchise tag. Since Schoen initiated talks with Barkley first, that seems like the preference for the multi-year contract. But what would the money look like?
Garafolo cited two other running backs as a comparison. One was Christian McCaffrey, who is earning an annual average salary of $16 million. The other is Dalvin Cook, whose five-year, $63 million deal ends up being about $12.6 million per year.
If Barkley is looking for McCaffrey money, Garafolo thinks a deal between the running back and New York is unlikely. But if he’s looking to do a little better than Cook, the likelihood of something getting done is high.
After two lost seasons because of injury, Barkley is back to being the top-tier rusher the Giants drafted second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old began his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons on the ground before tearing his ACL in 2020. He didn’t exactly look like himself in 2021 (593 rushing yards in 13 games played), but explosiveness has been back so far in 2022.
Barkley is among the league leaders in rushing yards. He’s currently sitting at 992 with seven rushing touchdowns. The former Penn State Nittany Lion has also added 35 receptions for another 223 yards.
New York has decisions to make once the offseason hits. Will Jones or Barkley be with the Giants in 2023? Will both of them stick around? That remains to be seen. However, it certainly seems like Barkley is the priority. The foundation for a potential agreement was already laid in Week 9.