Saquon Barkley
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley just validated the market forces he claimed to be fighting.

The Giants running back’s modified one-year deal — $10.1 in already-guaranteed franchise tag salary, plus roughly $900,000 in incentives — should infuriate the rest of his positional contemporaries. Because he put a price on elite running back play — $11 million a year. So much for solidarity coming out of that Zoom call.

Barkley’s incentive structure, according to reports: He maxes out if he rushes for 1,350 yards, has 65 receptions, scores 11 touchdowns and the Giants make the playoffs. So we plugged the numbers into Pro Football Reference.

There have been 12 running back seasons that hit those statistical milestones since 2000 (and only three since 2010). And only six of those seasons came on a playoff team.

The list (playoff appearances marked by asterisks):

• Marshall Faulk** with the Rams in 2000-01
• Tiki Barber* with the Giants in 2002
• Priest Holmes* with the Chiefs in 2002-03
• LaDainian Tomlinson with the Chargers in 2002-03
• Steven Jackson with the Rams in 2006
• Arian Foster with the Texans in 2010
• Ray Rice* with the Ravens in 2011
• Le’Veon Bell* with the Steelers in 2014
• Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers in 2019

So let’s get this straight: Barkley stays healthy (far from a given). He has the best season of his career — he has never had 1,350 rush yards and he broke 65 receptions and 11 touchdowns once, as a rookie. And the Giants manage to make the playoffs again despite all the warning signs about team regression.

In return, Barkley will get couple extra bucks this year and the right to be tagged a second time at a slightly higher rate. What a victory.

Yes, Barkley and his camp botched his situation too many ways to count. Their incompetence appears to be truly extraordinary. But in their capitulation, they proved the NFL’s point: Why should anyone pay a running back more than they have to when they will all inevitably give in? Barkley did not just wave the white flag for himself. He waived it for everyone else at the position.

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.