When the Giants open up training camp in a few days, they will be without their most popular player.
This comes after the Giants and Saquon Barkley could not agree on a long-term contract. Saquon Barkley is none too happy and will for sure miss most, if not all, of the Giants training camp.
While things are a bit rocky as it stands right now, Barkley will be on the field for the Giants come September. This is why it is very clear the Giants did the right thing in these negotiations.
You might ask why I’m so sure that Barkley will play this year. It’s because he has to.
Yes, I know there are reports and clips of Barkley himself saying he may consider sitting out. But just sit for a minute and think about Barkley’s situation.
If Barkley were to sit out this year, the Giants could tag him again next year. Barkley can sit out again and would be hitting the open market in 2 years at 28 years old, having not played a down since January of 2023. That’s not going to happen. He won’t leave 10 million dollars on the table and let his value fall more than what it already is.
The best thing Barkley can do is go out and try to have the best possible season to, at the very minimum, maintain the value he has now. At that point, he could either again try to work out a long-term deal or request a trade.
Still, the Giants have full control of that, which is exactly why they played their cards correctly in these negotiations.
If you want to argue that it’s unfair to NFL players that teams can control them for 6 to 7 years, that’s fine. But can you blame NFL teams for using the tools at their disposal? The Giants know they control Barkley for the next two years. Why would they offer him more than they felt comfortable with when they don’t have to? Many would say it is the right thing to do for the face of their franchise. To that, I would say that it wasn’t as if the Giants negotiated in bad faith.
The Giants have been trying to sign Barkley to a long-term deal since last year’s bye week. They offered him deals in the 13 to 14 million dollar per year range. When Barkley wanted more guaranteed money, the Giants finally offered him that but brought down the APY. That sounds like a fair contract for a position that is proven to be risky to pay. Not to mention, NOBODY is paying running backs this year. It would be foolish for the Giants to pay more than they should.
Paying top dollar for running backs has proven to be risky for NFL teams. That’s not to say they aren’t important, but it’s a fact that most running backs have a short shelf life. Saquon Barkley is one of the Giants’ best players. Every Giant fan out there wants him on the field this season. Joe Schoen wants Saquon Barkley on the field this year, and he proved that by negotiating with Barkley until the last minute, he could.
Schoen and the Giants used the tools at their disposal to retain Barkley whilst not doing what they felt was overpaying him. They had all the leverage, and they knew it. Barkley will play for the Giants this year, and the Giants didn’t overpay or hurt this team long-term.
While Barkley may not be happy, the Giants did the right thing in these negotiations.
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