The New York Giants just recently handed stud defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence a four-year, $90 million contract extension.
For general manager Joe Schoen and Co., this takes one franchise cornerstone off the free agent market for next March.
With that said, the Giants have another stud youngster to worry about moving forward. New York placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley this past March. Said tag is worth $10.1 million for the 2023 season, meaning that Barkley is underpaid in the grand scheme of things.
The former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has also refused to sign the tender, opening up the possibility of a holdout once training camp opens late this summer.
In talking about his RB1 recently, Schoen indicated that the Giants are prepared to start negotiations with Barkley again this offseason. He also made it clear that a new deal would have to make sense for both the running back and the Giants.
“Saquon’s a very good football player. He was a captain last year. He’s a good locker room guy. I love him. We want him to be here. [We’ve] just got to have a deal where both parties are happy with where you end up, and that’s what we’re going to try to work for and see if we can get something we can both agree on.’’New York Giants GM on Saquon Barkley contract situation
It was reported earlier in May that the Giants had offered Barkley $14 million annually on a long-term contract. Said deal would come in third among NFL running backs, behind San Francisco 49ers star Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints.
Saquon Barkley stats (2022): 295 attempts, 1,312 yards, 4.4 average, 57 catches, 338 receiving yards, 1,650 total yards, 10 TD
After injury-plagued 2020 and 2021 campaigns, Barkley returned to form big time for a surprising Giants team this past season. His presence was extremely valuable in helping recently extended quarterback Daniel Jones improve under center.
Related: New York Giants’ Daniel Jones and the highest-paid QBs of 2023
Saquon Barkley contract situation and the New York Giants
Having already committed big money deals to Jones and Lawrence, it’s an open question whether the Giants want to dole out more top-five contracts at this point.
Star left tackle Andrew Thomas is eligible for an extension this offseason with New York having already picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal for the 2024 season. Thomas will net well north of $20 million annually once he does sign an extension.
It’s all about the economics and whether the New York Giants value a running back at a high clip right now.
On the field, Barkley is among the Giants’ most important players. New York doesn’t have a reliable backup as evidenced by the fact that Barkley touched the ball 352 times in 16 games last season. He also accounted for 28% of their entire yardage on offense.
With all of that said, it has to make sense for the Giants. Something to the tune of four years at $15 million annually would likely get the job done.
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