Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley’s inability to get a long-term deal from the Giants — and similar situations involving the Cowboys’ Tony Pollard and Raiders’ Josh Jacobs — has sparked another round of calls for the abolishment of the NFL’s franchise tag system.

And — as always — these calls will go nowhere.

We won’t argue the franchise tag is a good thing for players. It was invented as a mechanism for owners and general managers to depress salaries, after all. But any effort to eliminate the tag in the next collective bargaining agreement — the current one expires in 2030 — will inevitably run into the truth: It makes no sense for the NFLPA — perpetually playing with a weak hand — to waste its time.

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The owners constantly get the better of the players because the union has no realistic threat to strike. And it cannot strike because that would be against the interests of the vast majority of the players. So why would it fight to achieve something that benefits a handful of elite players at the risk of yielding a major concession elsewhere that impacts the entire constituency? Because that is what would happen. The NFLPA would end up trading an 18th regular season game or a diminished pension plan or something of that sort to get rid of an issue that 1% of its players will ever deal with.

The salary cap has roughly doubled in the last decade. As have tag rates at every positions except one — running back. Because the position has diminished in importance. Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard are not getting screwed by the tag. They are getting screwed by the evolution of the game.

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

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.