Saquon Barkley will stay at home when the Giants open their offseason program next week, according to Newsday. Which should surprise absolutely no one.
The only leverage Barkley has is his presence. He is not on the Giants’ roster until he signs his franchise tag tender. And he is under no obligation — mandated or perceived — to participate in team activities until then. Which means skipping voluntary workouts is a given, missing the June minicamp is very likely and a boycott of some or all of training camp is presumably on the table.
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The Giants hit Barkley with the tag in March after re-signing quarterback Daniel Jones. And they have since pulled the multi-year offer they gave Barkley before that. Barkley and the Giants have until July 17 to reach an extension deal, but that is very much in doubt. General manager Joe Schoen seems inclined to make Barkley play on the tag. And Barkley has already rejected several offers reported to be worth in the $12-13 million range annually.
Barkley will eventually have to sign the tag tender to ensure his $10.1 million salary for 2023. But the road to that point could be quite bumpy. The right business move for Barkley, assuming no long-term deal is reached, would be to spend the next five months training on his own (or with teammates off-campus) before rolling into town on the Tuesday before Week 1. But that approach would come with risks.
Barkley needs another big season to give himself another crack at a payday next spring. Does he best position himself for that by skipping the preseason? And could a holdout — even a permitted one — damage his reputation inside the building and with the fanbase? It should not, but these things are not always viewed fairly.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.