Door is open for Saquon Barkley’s return to the Giants


Ralph Vacchiano

NFC East Reporter

Joe Schoen was sitting alone in his office last week when the good news was delivered. The NFL salary cap had exploded to $255.4 million. It was nearly $15 million more than the “conservative” estimate the New York Giants were using to make their offseason plans.

So when the Giants general manager opened up that email from the league, he also opened up a very big door.

Suddenly, the return of Saquon Barkley seemed a lot more possible than it did before. The “franchise tag” was an option for the running back again, Schoen said. They even had a little more room to maneuver if they wanted to sign him to a new contract, too.

But that last part might really be up to Barkley, who has said over and over that he wants to be a “Giant for life.” Because while the Giants’ cap situation has changed, the value of running backs in the NFL hasn’t.

And if Barkley doesn’t finally accept that, there might not be a deal to make.

“I wouldn’t say his value has changed, especially in the organization,” Schoen said on Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “He’s a captain, he’s a leader, he’s a hard worker. I think the world of Saquon and I still think he can play. So, my value for Saquon really hasn’t changed.

“I think we’ve all grown — Saquon myself, the organization — through the last 12, 13, 14 months. Saquon may be in a different place now than he was then in terms of understanding the market and the business side of it.”

Surely Barkley understands the reality of the business better after enduring several rounds of negotiations over a nine-month period in 2022-23 and still not coming to a long-term deal with the Giants. Their best offer to him would have guaranteed him about $23 million over the 2023 and 2024 seasons — about the equivalent of two “franchise tags.” He passed and played on a renegotiated franchise tag deal last season, earning about $11 million so he could try again…

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Publish date : 2024-02-28 18:30:32

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