Quarterback Daniel Jones is generating a lot of Giants-related headlines these days with how his contract negotiations seem to be going right now. But obviously, he’s not the only significant free agent New York is dealing with. The other is running back Saquon Barkley. Big Blue has been trying to negotiate a deal since their Week 9 bye, but an agreement still hasn’t been reached.
Barkley said at the conclusion of the Giants’ season that he’s not worried about resetting the running back market with his next contract. However, that’s what his reps are reportedly trying to do. Barkley’s camp has been trying to get their client’s annual average value in the $16 million range, which is the same as 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey.
The Giants’ offers haven’t been near that number at all. According to USA Today‘s Giantswire, New York made a midseason offer of about three years and $37.5 million to Barkley. That obviously didn’t cut it, but the two sides are still talking. Things could always end up with the Giants just using the franchise tag on the running back, right?
The window just opened, and Barkley could be tagged for $10.1 million. General manager Joe Schoen isn’t in a rush to use the tag (he has until March 7th). The organization has reportedly preferred multi-year deals for both Jones and Barkley. For Barkley, though, it sounds like the reasoning behind that is the Giants don’t want more than $10 million of cap space to be used at running back.
Nick Chubb’s three-year, $36.6 million deal with the Cleveland Browns appears to be a comp New York is using. Here’s what Paul Schwartz of the New York Post had to say about the current situation between both parties:
As of the latest talks, a gap still exists. The Giants are not going to go much higher than an annual average of $12.5 million. They could increase their offer as far as guarantees. The Giants have little interest in having Barkley play the 2023 season on the franchise tag for $10.1 million because they are unwilling to eat up so much of their cap space on a running back. In the first year of Chubb’s new contract, 2021, his salary cap number was $4.7 million. That is more in line with what the Giants are thinking for Barkley.
So, it’s not just the annual average value they’re using that Chubb comp for. The Giants would also like the first year of any new pact to be lighter on the salary cap.
There’s still plenty of time for this all to play out. But once free agency opens up, it’ll be more difficult for Barkley and the Giants to reach a deal. Barkley has said multiple times he’d like to be a Giant for Life. However, it takes two to tango for that to happen.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.