Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

The message was polite, but firm: Saquon Barkley overplayed his hand and will play in 2023 on the Giants’ terms.

Co-owner John Mara and general manager Joe Schoen more or less said that Monday at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix. Barkley turned down a midseason offer, got hit with the franchise tag and the running back market has since collapsed league-wide. Whatever leverage he once possessed — and we remain skeptical he ever had the market some claimed — is now long gone.

Said Mara, via “I told Saquon this: We want him to be a Giant for his entire career, if that’s possible. He’s a great player. We’d like to get something done with him at some point. … But there is a limit as to what we can do in that regard.”

And Schoen, via ESPN: “Where we are with him on the franchise tag, we’re fine with that. … There’s no outstanding offer right now. Once we put the franchise tag on him, we stepped back.”

The Giants reportedly offered Barkley a deal worth in the $12-to-$12.5 million range annually during the fall (guaranteed money details never leaked, so the true value of the proposal remains unknown). Barkley turned it down. The Giants then reportedly improved their offer — again, no guaranteed money known — but talks went nowhere before Barkley was tagged. Which brings us to now.

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Barkley is scheduled to make $10.1 million this year if he plays on the tag tender. The Giants could then tag him again in 2023 at a $12.1 million tag rate, which would mean an average annual value below what the Giants supposedly offered him months ago. Which is why Barkley was upset about the tag, according to Mara and other reports. But there is nothing he can do about it.

The Giants are not going to trade him or rescind the tag. They have no current need for salary cap space, so a long-term deal is not a necessity for Schoen. Barkley can — and likely will — skip the entire offseason and some/all of training camp while unsigned. But that is unlikely to move the Giants much, if at all. So he has two likely choices: Sign the tag or sit out the season.

The former is not ideal for him given his injury history and the lack of commitment on the Giants’ part. The latter does have precedent. Le’Veon Bell refused to sign the Steelers’ tag in 2018 and did not play that year. But that was Bell’s second tag and the market for backs at the time was far more robust. And he knew the Steelers would let him walk (to the Jets, it turned out) the next offseason. There is a non-zero chance the Giants would just tag Barkley again.

The fact Schoen said no deal is on the table feels telling. If Barkley gets a deal before the July 15 deadline, it will likely be of his own accord. And capitulation. The Giants are quite comfortable letting him play out the tag. Then it is up to him to stay healthy, produce and position himself to cash in come 2024. But even then, the Giants still hold the hammer.

It is not a great position to be in. But it is one that — it appears — Barkley helped create. And the Giants had no issue reminding him.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.