Giants ‘Unlikely’ to Make Key Saquon Barkley Decision: Report

Saquon Barkley

Getty The New York Giants are planning contract talks with Saquon Barkley, but are "unlikely" to make this decision about the RB's future.

The New York Giants will talk to Saquon Barkley about a new contract, but there’s a catch. It’s “unlikely” general manager Joe Schoen will use the franchise tag to retain the two-time Pro Bowl running back at a cost of $12,109,200, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter reported this update on Monday, February 26. Roughly nine days away from the deadline for tagging players, Tuesday, March 5.

Barkley is likely to welcome the Giants’ reticence to use the tag. He’s already made it clear he doesn’t want a repeat of last offseason.

That leaves player and team to talk up and downplay the merits of a big payday for an elite talent playing an undervalued position in today’s NFL.

Joe Schoen’s Facing Same Saquon Barkley Dilemma

Running backs aren’t considered worthy investments in a modern game geared more to the pass. The Giants summed up the trend when Schoen paid quarterback Daniel Jones ahead of Barkley last offseason.

Jones flopped after signing a contract worth $160 million, but Barkley proved his enduring value. The 27-year-old rushed for 962 yards, including six touchdowns and 51 first downs on the ground, per Pro Football Reference.

Barkley remains one of the few complete backs in the league. He’s got the power to truck defensive players and still possesses enough breakaway speed to generate big plays in both phases of the offense.

All of those things are surely worth paying Barkley honest market value. That’s projected by to be $9.9 million annually over three years.

It’s less than the tag, but Schoen may still be wary about paying up. Especially since Barkley shouldn’t expect what he was offered a year ago, according to Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports: “they’re not expected to increase the contract offer he rejected last offseason — a deal that likely isn’t on the table anymore, anyway.”

The deal that failed to pique Barkley’s interest was a contract worth $13 million a year, “that included just $19.5 million guaranteed,” per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy.

If Schoen won’t make the same offer, he’ll have plenty of alternatives to Barkley amid a loaded free-agency class.

Giants Have Saquon Barkley Alternatives

The Giants aren’t the only team prepared to let a star running back test the market. As Establish The Run’s Adam Levitan outlined, Barkley tops a star-studded veteran class also featuring former NFL rushing champions Josh Jacobs and Derrick Henry.

Perhaps Jacobs and Henry will be out of the Giants price range, but there are options. Including Indianapolis Colts veteran Zack Moss, who played for Daboll with the Buffalo Bills.

Levitan also listed AJ Dillon of the Green Bay Packers. He’s a true power back who would offer the Giants more brute force in short-yardage situations and the red zone.

Pairing Dillon with second-year speedster Eric Gray or a mid-round pick in this year’s draft could overhaul the Giants’ rushing attack on the cheap. That might be easier than Schoen trying to match any offers Barkley receives on the market.

A bargain strategy would leave the Giants shorn of Barkley’s dynamic skill-set, but with enough resources to still retool the offensive line, cornerback and wide receiver.

Read More