Eric Hartline | USA TODAY Sports

It felt like Saquon Barkley — and the Giants — just took the gloves completely off.

The cliff notes from a newsy and tense Wednesday:

• ESPN reported the franchise-tagged running back and the team remain at a stalemate in long-term contract talks with less than a week before the NFL tag extension deadline.

• ESPN also reported Barkley may be willing to stay home and miss regular season games without a deal.

• Pro Football Talk reported the Giants offered Barkley a pre-tag deal worth $13 million annually with $26 million over the first two years. The report did not explicitly say the $26 million was the guaranteed money figure, but it was implied. PFT also reported Barkley was demanding $16 million annually.

• Barkley tweeted the PFT report was false. He did not explain what is incorrect, continuing his knack of insinuating lies without providing the truth.

• ESPN and The Post reported Barkley did not turn down a deal with $26 million in guaranteed money.

That is a lot. So let us break it all down:

An impasse is not a surprise. The Giants have all the leverage. And, to be frank, no real reason to not have Barkley play on the tag. And Barkley seemingly has not softened his demands. Unless the player gives, it feels like this will go nowhere.

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Barkley is not sitting out any regular season games. Yes, he probably will skip training camp if he does not get a deal by Tuesday. The only leverage Barkley has is his physical presence, so he would be foolish to not use it. That said, it is hard to believe he would not show up a few days before Week 1 and begrudgingly sign the tag.

Barkley may think he is worth far more than the $10.1 million tag figure, but he also cannot flush $10 million down the toilet. Former Jets running back Le’Veon Bell is not a valid comparison here. Bell sat out the season after the Steelers tagged him for the second time; he had already cashed an eight-figure check the year prior. And he knew Pittsburgh was unlikely to tag him again. Barkley has not had a big pay season yet and he has no guarantee the Giants won’t tag him again in 2024.

The PFT report feels like the Giants’ first salvo at Team Barkley. Big Blue has remained above the fray during this ordeal. There has been little to no talk from the team’s side, for attribution or not, while Barkley, his camp and his pals in the press have painted him as the aggrieved party.

Our analysis of the situation from afar has been consistent: The Giants were not battling in the court of public opinion because they did not have to. Or want to. Barkley’s team had overplayed their hand and general manager Joe Schoen had all the leverage as a result. And, because the organization respects Barkley, it did not want to embarrass him. But it feels like that may have changed Wednesday. Because these leaked contract terms — including the closest thing anyone has reported about guaranteed money, even if imprecise — reinforce the idea Barkley botched the pre-tag negotiations. And the Giants may finally be miffed enough to point it out.

Let’s talk about guaranteed money again. Forget about the annual average value. It is meaningless voodoo math so Barkley’s agent can run a shiny number to the scoop merchants to tweet out. If the Giants offered Barkley $26 million in guaranteed money, or close to it, it its hard to say they lowballed him — which is what he and his team have been suggesting. You could argue he deserves a few more bucks, but it does not sound like the Giants gave him an unfair deal based on the $22.2 million Barkley would get on back-to-back tags.

In closing … The next few days will be fascinating. Will Barkley blink and cave? Will Giants co-owner John Mara give into sentimentality and cave? Our gut says it is 51-49 a deal gets done.

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.