Giants and Saquon Barkley agree to terms on 1-year contract, RB to report to training camp

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Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants have found a temporary solution to the star running back’s contract. While not a long-term deal, the two sides have agreed to a modified one-year deal that replaces the franchise tag, up to $11 million and includes a $2 million signing bonus, according to NFL Media and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson. Barkley, who was originally slated to play under the team’s franchise tag, will be present when the Giants begin training camp on Wednesday.

Barkley’s only other option sans signing the team’s franchise tag was a one-year deal, as he and the Giants missed the mid-July window to sign a long-term deal.

The two sides couldn’t come to terms on the deal after first starting talks during the Giants’ bye week last season. New York had reportedly made an offer to Barkley that would have paid him an average annual salary of $14 million. The structure of the deal and guaranteed money prevented that deal from coming to fruition. New York then proceeded to use the franchise tag that would have paid Barkley $10.091 million fully guaranteed for the 2023 season.

The one-year deal ensures that Barkley will not sit out this season. It also keeps the door open for Barkley to resume his career with the Giants once the season is over. On several occasions, Barkley has made it clear that he wants to stay in New York, and the Giants want that too.

“My dream is that he plays his whole career as a Giant like Eli (Manning) did, like (Michael) Strahan did, like Tiki (Barber) did,” Giants co-owner John Mara said earlier this season. “I told him, ‘Look what they’re doing off the field now.’ I think he would like that too.

“We’d love to have him. He gives leadership. He’s a good player. We’d like to do something with him at some point.”

The 2022 season was an important one for Barkley, who played at a Pro Bowl level after being plagued by injuries the previous two seasons. This season, Barkley rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards. He also ran for 10 scores while catching 57 passes for 338 yards in 16 regular season games.

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Barkley played a key role in the Giants’ upset win over the Vikings on Super Wild Card weekend. He had two touchdowns on the ground while totaling 109 all-purpose yards on 14 carries. Barkley has 82 yards on 11 carries against the Eagles. His 39-yard run helped set up the Giants’ only drive.

“I wanted to show them that the one they designed is still here,” Barkley said of his 2022 season. “I hope I did. Everyone knows I’d like to be a giant for life, but of course I can’t give 100% answers.”

Barkley’s success last season increased his market value, at least on paper. His current market value is projected to be $49.3 million over four years for an annual salary of $12.3 million per year, according to Spotrac. That number, however, does not reflect the difficulty of the running back position. Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook and two-time league rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott were still unnamed. Raiders running back and reigning league rushing champion Josh Jacobs has yet to sign his franchise tag. Things have gotten so bad that some of the league’s top sponsors recently held a virtual conference to try to find answers.

To Barkley’s credit, he’s not trying to reset the market for running backs. Instead he tries to be paid in a way that reflects his worth. Although his new one-year contract does not reflect his value, it is a step in the right direction.

“I’m not too worried about resetting any markets,” Barkley said earlier this season. “I’m being realistic. I know what I was so quick to do, but having two years of injury doesn’t help. But I think I was able to show how good my player is.”

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