The Giants beat the clock to keep both their stars in the fold.
General manager Joe Schoen hit running back Saquon Barkley with the franchise tag on Tuesday. The move came moments after quarterback Daniel Jones agreed to a four-year deal with the team and right before the NFL’s 4 p.m. tag deadline.
So what now?
The current situation. Barkley in effect has a one-year, $10.1 million deal on the table. That is the non-exclusive tag rate for running backs. And the Giants are scheduled to carry that cap hit when the new league year begins a week from Wednesday.
Extension? The Giants will try to hammer out a deal with Barkley before the start of free agency in order to free up more cap space. But that may be easier said than done. Barkley turned down a reported midseason contract offer in the $12.5 million per year range. And there has been no indication the Giants have shown a willingness to go much higher. ESPN reported Tuesday talks between the two sides have “stalled” in recent days.
This could take a while. The Giants will carry Barkley’s cap hit once the new league year begins. But he is not on the roster until he signs the tender. And he and the team have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. So it is possible Barkley could decide to skip the entire offseason program, including the mandatory minicamp in June, if talks run that long. And if no deal is reached by the July deadline? Barkley has to play the season on the tag and do this all over again next year.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.