Giants Tried to Pay Saquon Barkley on Par With Browns’ Pro-Bowler: Report

Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb

Getty The New York Giants wanted to pay Saquon Barkley on a par with a Pro-Bowl running back for the Cleveland Browns.

Saquon Barkley still doesn’t have a new long-term contract with the New York Giants, and general manager Joe Schoen revealed there’s been no movement on talks. Things might’ve been different though if star running back Barkley had accepted an offer that would have paid him on par with Cleveland Browns’ four-time Pro-Bowler Nick Chubb.

Schoen and “the Giants were willing to extend Barkley to the tune of $12.5-$13 million annually — impressive compensation for a player whose game is not nearly as well rounded as some want to believe, nor one absent durability concerns,” according to’s Connor Hughes.

As Hughes noted, “in the Giants’ opinion, this would put him (Barkley) in the same realm as Cleveland’s Nick Chubb.” The problem was “Barkley wanted near $16 million — Christian McCaffrey money. That’s a large gap.”

That gap isn’t likely to close any time soon. Not after Schoen told reporters he hasn’t even spoken with Barkley “in probably three weeks.”

Schoen admitting he doesn’t “know what his (Barkley’s) plan is” regarding the rest of the offseason program strikes a worrying note. Barkley isn’t likely the to sign the franchise tag the Giants placed on him, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, who also noted how the player won’t be in attendance for the official start of the team’s offseason work.

It leaves the Giants trying to navigate a critical phase of their preparation for the new season with uncertainty surrounding the future of their best player.

Saquon Barkley Doubt an Unwanted Distraction

The Giants could do without drama involving their lone blue-chip player among the skill positions. Perhaps Pro-Bowl tight end Darren Waller, acquired in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this offseason, could make a similar impact in the passing game, but he’ll need to stay healthy after missing 14 games the last two years.

Like Waller, Barkley has also had trouble avoiding injury, but he stayed upright long enough to power the Giants’ surprise run to the playoffs last season. Barkley rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns, including this score against the Minnesota Vikings in the postseason.

No. 26 also tied for the team lead with 57 receptions. Barkley was a do-all workhorse for the Giants, a similar role to the one Chubb occupies for the Browns.

The two share other similarities, notably a penchant for breaking long runs to the end zone, per CBS Sports.

Yet while the Browns have had another Pro-Bowler, Kareem Hunt, in reserve, the Giants lack marquee depth behind Barkley. Matt Breida returned in free agency and Gary Brightwell is still on the roster, but this backfield will look threadbare if Barkley isn’t suiting up for Big Blue this season.

Giants Need Creative Solutions to Growing Problem

Paying Barkley on the level of the league’s best backs won’t be easy after the Giants gave Daniel Jones a four-year contract worth $160 million. Schoen went with the modern consensus and paid up to keep a winning quarterback, but Jones won’t be anywhere close to as effective without Barkley.

The problem is Barkley isn’t likely to get the $16 million-plus annual salary the San Francisco 49ers pay Christian McCaffrey. Even Chubb’s $12 million per year looks fanciful with the Giants also needing to re-sign All-Pro nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II.

Silence may be defining the situation with Barkley, but Schoen did reveal there’s “good dialogue” with Lawrence’s camp, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

All signs point toward the Giants needing to look for cost-effective solutions to any standoff with Barkley. Head coach Brian Daboll will be an asset thanks to his history helping unheralded runners thrive.

There’s no shortage of options in the 2023 NFL draft, while Hunt, Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott remain on the free-agent market. Any could be signed on a team-friendly veteran deal after the draft.

Schoen has alternatives at his disposal, but he’ll know the Giants will be stronger with a happy Barkley still in the fold.

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