Giants’ Saquon Barkley will make NFL contract history

The New York Giants selected former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft Thursday night. The pick itself isn’t too much of a surprise. New York had been linked to the dynamic running back throughout the pre-draft process.

It is, however, surprising to see the Giants passed up on USC product Sam Darnold in favor of a running back.

More than the decision to select a player at this position No. 2 overall, the Giants now have a major financial commitment on their hands. In fact, Barkley is slated to earn the second-most guaranteed money for a running back in NFL history, behind only Adrian Peterson.

In one way, the rookie wage scale makes perfect sense. Created during the 2011 Collecetive Bargining Agreement, the idea was to value players exactly where they were selected in the draft. On the other hand, it makes very little sense in situations like this.

Running backs themselves are not valued at anywhere near the clip of other positions when it comes to veteran deals. There’s not a single running back among the 50 players with the highest guarantees on their current deals.

With an expected $31 million guaranteed at signing, Barkley will rank above Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, LeSean McCoy and Le’Veon Bell in that category.