saquon barkley giants
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Are you ready for Giants football? After a surprising 2022 performance, many of us are. That unfortunately can’t be said about running back Saquon Barkley.

Since the moment Big Blue slapped the franchise tag on him, Barkley was hoping for an agreement between both sides on a multi-year deal. The deadline to get that done was Monday, July 17th at 4 pm ET. It didn’t happen. And now, there’s a whole new dilemma for the former Penn State Nittany Lion.

He’s already going to be missing the start of Giants training camp, but what about Week 1 of the regular season? That’s not off the table as a possibility. Before the extension deadline passed, he did an interview on “The Money Matters” show. The interview itself happened on July 11th, but the episode didn’t drop until this past Monday.

Barkley’s contract negotiations with New York were obviously a hot topic. Here’s what his thoughts were at the time when discussing the possibility of holding out:

Of course, while Barkley made these comments, there was likely still some hope that a deal would be agreed upon and he wouldn’t have to make this decision. But as he said after the deadline came and went, it is what it is. Now he needs to figure out what his next play is.

As has been the case all along, Barkley and his camp don’t have a ton of leverage. The only real leverage he has is not showing up. While OTAs were voluntary, he used that as an opportunity to not be with the team. His next opportunity is at the start of training camp next week. Could it extend into the regular season? That seems like a distinct possibility.

If the Giants really wanted to cave and just get a deal done, they would’ve happened already. We’ve seen what’s happened to the running back market in recent years. Just this offseason, Dalvin Cook got released by the Vikings and Joe Mixon took a big pay cut to stay with the Bengals.

This could’ve all been avoided had both sides found common ground during their initial contract negotiations, which happened during New York’s bye week last season. But it didn’t and now we’re here. We know what’s on Saquon’s mind regarding options because there are only two: play on the franchise tag or don’t play.

It’s hard to see a scenario where he doesn’t suit up for the Giants in 2023, but who knows at this point? He’s got some thinking to do.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.