According to an old proverb, “deadlines make deals.”
Unfortunately, that adage did not hold true on Monday for Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants. The organization must now decide whether to start the 2023 campaign without their star rushing back in the backfield.
The deadline for teams to negotiate contract extensions with players who were wearing the franchise tag under the terms of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expired at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday.
The parties are not permitted to resume negotiations on a new agreement until the conclusion of the 2023 season now that the deadline has passed.
What happens next now that the deadline has passed without a deal?
There’s a risk that this will continue into training camp and beyond.
According to reports, Barkley has stated that being tagged is “undesirable,” and earlier information indicated that sitting out Week 1’s game against the Dallas Cowboys as well as training camp was an option.
That threat most certainly still stands since the deadline has passed without an extension. However, Barkley must consider the financial ramifications of that threat.
He loses 1/17th of the running back salary cap amount ($10.091 million) for each game he misses this season. That means he loses close to $594,000 for each game he skips.
If the problem persisted after Week 10, Barkley wouldn’t be able to play this year.
It is also unknown whether the Giants would apply the franchise tag to Barkley for the 2024 season if he did miss the 2023 campaign. Take into account what Art Stapleton, who writes on the Giants for NorthJersey.com, says:
Furthermore, if Barkley doesn’t agree to a long-term contract, there is no guarantee he won’t be released in 2024. The Giants may be flexible in their planning and commit to developing this offense without him. They want him here, but they might take a different strategy in 2024.
The Giants recently gave two of their finest players at elite positions, Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence, contracts worth more than $240 million.
They’ll eventually spend a lot on Andrew Thomas, possibly resetting the offensive tackle market. Because of the market, the position, and the price tag, the discussion with Barkley is not indicative of the Giants’ alleged failure to care for their own.
This past season, Barkley played a significant role in the Giants’ attack both on the ground and in the air.
He not only led the Giants in targets in the passing game with 76 and caught 57 of them for another 338 yards on the ground (1,312 rushing yards and ten touchdowns).
Running backs other than Barkley also failed to negotiate a deal by Monday’s deadline. Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys and Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders are both facing the franchise tag without a new contract in place.
The last running back in this position to get a new contract was Nick Chubb with the Cleveland Browns back in 2021, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Over the past few years, the NFL’s perspective on running backs has drastically changed. What job under the franchise tag now pays less than running backs? players on special teams.
Teams’ perceptions of the position’s worth have changed as a result of the focus placed on the passing game, running backs’ injury track record, and the fact that the ground game can be influenced by other factors like offensive line play and system.
Given what he contributes in the passing game, Barkley presents an intriguing case, though.
However, it appears that it was insufficient to persuade the parties to agree on a new contract.
All those clubs can do at this point is wait to see if and when those running backs report to camp.