Breaking news came down from East Rutherford, New Jersey yesterday, as New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has agreed to a one-year deal with the team. The news came early Tuesday morning after what was months of negotiations, a failure to extend at the franchise tag deadline, and rumors that he’d hold out. Barkley’s signing comes on the heels of training camp and after the team secured veteran insurance in free agent James Robinson.
Saquon Barkley’s contract is a one-year deal (his franchise tag), worth $10.1 million, but the Giants added $909,000 incentives and provided a $2 million signing bonus. The upfront bonus and incentives were no doubt enticing, considering it was better than the initial tag offer that had neither provision.
What was the drama over Saquon Barkley?
Initially, the Giants were in negotiations to re-sign Saquon Barkley to a long-term extension that would keep him in Giants blue for several years. After several roster moves and the retainment of quarterback Daniel Jones, however, it seemed like Barkley’s value took a backseat. The team failed to come to an agreement and, instead, designated Barkley with the franchise tag. Thus began the current saga to determine what Barkley’s future in New York would be.
Things between the Giants and Barkley remained at a standstill for quite some time. The Giants wouldn’t budge off their initial offers and brought those numbers down once the tag deadline passed. Barkley held firm as well, fighting for his value, but the deadline’s passing meant he’d have to play on the tag. This led Barkley to attend a “running backs-only” Zoom call in which other athletes at the position around the NFL discussed the state of their financial prospects moving forward as a whole.
However, Barkley promptly came to an agreement on his deal with the Giants Tuesday. His agreement puts him in position to be the third highest grossing running back in the league for potentially the next two seasons if he maxes out this current deal and is tagged next year.
What does Barkley’s return mean for the Giants?
What it primarily means is that the Giants just retained a major weapon in their offensive arsenal. They’re in prime position to now head into camp developing the team chemistry and opening the playbook further under offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. And they’ll be doing so with their best running back on the field. It means that Barkley actually values his teammates and the organization, given his decision to sign even though it was for only slightly more money.
It also means that Saquon Barkley now has an opportunity to prove his worth as a running back, unquestioned. Regardless of if he was worth a massive extension now or not, he’ll have a shot to show that in the second year of what is a modern, dynamic offense. This is something the Giants hadn’t had in years until head coach Brian Daboll and Kafka arrived. It’s something that he’ll need in order to hit his incentives too, which encourage a well-rounded season for the dynamic running back:
All in all, Barkley’s return is huge. And while it could be his last season with the team, given his desire to a long-term, higher money deal, it will be interesting to see how this offseason drama and his incentive-laden contract will motivate the young phenom to perform.
Without a doubt, Barkley has the passion and care for the game and fans. Here’s hoping Barkley remains healthy and can show the world his worth.