New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is the biggest reason behind the team’s success this season, emerging as one of the best running backs in the NFL for the first time since 2019.
Brian Daboll has built his offense around the All-Pro back, making him the focal point of the Giants’ rushing attack and a go-to target for quarterback Daniel Jones in the passing game. New York knows how important Barkley is for their success and even with the decision-makers that drafted him no longer in the building, a contract extension for Barkley is a priority.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, New York engaged in contract talks with Barkley during the team’s Week 9 bye. It came after general manager Joe Schoen told reporters on Nov. 2 that the bye week would be the only time they negotiated with Barkley during the season.
- Saquon Barkley stats (2022): 968 scrimmage yards, 4.8 ypc, five touchdowns
“I don’t want anything to be a distraction to the players or the organization.”New York Giants GM Joe Schoen on only discussing a long-term deal with Saquon Barkley during the bye week
Barkley is in the final year of his rookie contract, on the verge of becoming the best running back available in 2023 free agency.
The 25-year-old will be hitting the open market at the perfect time. Injuries limited him to 15 total games from 2020-’21, a stretch that saw the former No.2 pick averaged just 3.5 yards per carry with 950 scrimmage yards on 228 touches.
A new system and coaching staff helped revitalize Barkley’s career. While he will fall short of achieving his second season with 2,000-plus scrimmage yards, Barkley will pass the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2019.
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Latest on Giants’ contract talks with Saquon Barkley
While the two sides explored a long-term extension this past week, negotiations have been put to the side once again. Barkley and the Giants both want to focus on the remainder of the season, viewing any potential negotiations as a distraction.
- Saquon Barkley contract: $7.217 million salary (2022)
Even when New York’s season ends and it opens new dialogue with the All-Pro running back’s agent, it seems there will be significant ground that needs to be covered for an extension to happen before he becomes a free agent.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Barkley and the Giants never got close to a deal during their brief window of negotiations. New York wants to get something done, but there is reportedly a significant gap in how much Barkley is worth.
New York could apply the franchise tag to Barkley in 2023, but it might also consider using that on Jones. The Giants’ front office must also weigh the risks of signing a running back to a long-term deal worth $15-plus million per season.
It remains a positive sign that both parties want to reach a long-term deal, but it remains far from a guarantee that Barkley will stay with New York in 2023.