Why it matters: Barkley is one of the best players at the position.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Barkley has been a mainstay of the Giants’ offense since the team’s second overall draft pick in 2018, giving the team its identity after longtime quarterback Eli Manning leaves. rice field.
He was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season and grew to become the face of the league with his explosive run, despite an ankle and knee injury that kept him out for 21 games from 2019-21. bottom.
Barkley bounced back last season to lead the Giants (9-7-1) to their first playoff appearance since the 2016 season. With 295 carries (all fourth-best in the NFL) and 1,312 rushing yards on 10 rushing touchdowns, the Giants are a top-five rushing team, with 17 passes to 17 passes. He scored 21 touchdowns.
The team’s decision to offer the franchise tag to Barkley has been controversial in NFL circles, with members of the Giants’ rivalry even speaking up for him. Cowboys end defense in April Micah Parsons claims on Twitter That Barkley is the center of the Giants offense. “My plan for Monday morning is to not let Squon Barkley lose!!” he wrote, adding, “Pay him!”
Background: Teams are reluctant to sign long-term running backs.
Mr. Barkley probably wants a contract on a par with the highest earners in the same job.
His four-year rookie contract was worth $31.19 million, and the team acquired his option for $7.2 million last season.
49ers’ Christian McCaffrey is the top-paid running back with $16 million, while Saints guard Alvin Kamara has $15 million. Titans’ Derrick Henry, Browns’ Nick Chubb and Bengals’ Joe Mixon each make at least $12 million a year on their contracts.
Berkeley ridiculed last week’s report He’s asking for $16 million a year, it said, and keeps his social media accounts loaded with images of his offseason training.
But he may be negotiating hard both for his personal play and to increase the market value of running backs, whose average pay is declining.
“The trend right now is not to pay running backs, so everyone’s like, ‘Okay, we don’t have to do that.'” Chargers running back Austin Ekeler saidHe added that reversing the trend would require top performers to hold out or sign long-term mega-contracts.
Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and Cowboys’ Tony Pollard have also failed to reach long-term deals with their teams and are expected to play under the franchise tag (the average salary of the top five players in their position). Running backs pale in comparison to quarterbacks ($32.4 million this year), offensive linemen ($18.24 million) and even tight ends ($11.35 million).
If Barkley accepts the Giants’ tag team, the two sides can’t negotiate a long-term deal until after the regular season.
Barkley may not be able to hold out and play if the tag is not accepted. You don’t get paid for missing training camp dates, but you lose your salary if you miss a game. The Giants may revoke the franchise tag, but Barkley is highly unlikely to become an unrestricted free agent.
The likely outcome is that Barkley held out briefly to convey his displeasure, but would eventually report to camp. He has repeatedly said he wants to retire as a giant and has moved his representatives to facilitate negotiations. It is currently represented by Kim Miale of Roc Nation and Ed Perry of Creative Artist Agency.
Once the regular season is over, the Giants and Barkley will be able to move forward with negotiations and likely reach an agreement in the end. He’s been a steady figure in a locker room that has had three different head coaches during his tenure at Barkley, and the team’s reliance on Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones’ running attack won’t abate anytime soon. .