The Giants’ season has only been over for a few days, and their crucial offseason has already gotten interesting. It looks like general manager Joe Schoen’s top priority is to re-sign quarterback Daniel Jones. He’d also like running back Saquon Barkley to return, but it’ll depend more on how negotiations go.
In the immediate aftermath of the season, Barkley emphatically said he wanted to remain with the Giants for the rest of his NFL career. He also said he wasn’t too concerned with resetting the running back market in free agency. Right now, the standard is the $16 million per year that Christian McCaffrey is earning.
But according to Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports, the bye-week contract negotiations between New York and Barkley’s camp left them at a significant gap.
… Considering the projected franchise tag for RBs is $10.1M, it really didn’t sound like the Giants’ bye week offer to Saquon Barkley is going to increase by much.
They have a lot of other spending priorities this off-season.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) January 23, 2023
So, which is it? You can’t fault a guy coming off setting a single-season career-high mark in rushing yards and trying to cash in. But it’s confusing to hear Barkley say what he said, and then to see this report from Vacchiano say the complete opposite.
If this report is accurate, we’re about to see just how much both sides want to keep this relationship going. For the Giants, we’ll soon get a sense of whether they’re OK stretching from that initial offer to retain Barkley. And for Barkley himself, we’ll find out just how badly he wants to keep playing for the Giants.
We’re still pretty early in this process, so anything can happen at this point. This sounds like pretty standard negotiating, though. The player’s representation is trying to capitalize on a career-best year, while the team — who has plenty of important roster decisions to make — is trying to mitigate costs.
Maybe Barkley’s camp already knows they won’t get McCaffrey money anywhere. They may be asking for that with hopes the final number will finish above the Giants’ initial offer. And maybe, the Giants are OK with slightly upping their original offer if it means meeting in the middle.
Barkley’s comments on Saturday night were mere minutes after watching his season end in embarrassing fashion. Emotions are high after a loss like that. However, it also wasn’t the first time he said he wanted to re-sign with the Giants. If staying in New York is the most important thing to him, that’s what will happen.
Ultimately, the running back will have the final say in what he wants to do.