Giants sources say they had long-term extension talks centered around keeping star running back Saquon Barkley for years to come during their bye week. As another sign of the team’s commitment to one of their highest-performing players, it did not come to fruition.
According to Schoen, the team would only extend players during the bye week if it wanted to extend them during the season.
Schoen said he probably wouldn’t do anything after that, as he didn’t want to distract players or the organization.
They did have extension talks with Barkley, sources say, as the former No. 2 overall pick wants to be compensated as one of the highest paid backs in football.
That opens up the possibility that Barkley is franchise-tagged this March. Barkley is in the final year of his rookie deal, earning $7.217 million on the fifth-year option. With only one player able to tag the Giants and Daniel Jones also nearing the end of his contract, the offseason will be interesting for them.
In the best-case scenario, Jones is on pace to have his best season yet with the surprise 6-2 Giants and Barkley is currently third in the NFL in rushing with 779 yards on 163 carries and five touchdowns.
Sources say the team also discussed long-term extensions with versatile defensive back Julian Love, but those have also been tabled until the offseason.
It will be fascinating for Barkley to search for a RB. His camp sees him as a comp to Christian McCaffrey, the do-everything RB who signed a four-year, $64 million deal in April of 2020, following a season in which he eclipsed 1,000 yards in receiving and rushing. His agents want him to make about the same as McCaffrey.
Aside from Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry both earn $12 to $14 million a year. Ezekiel Elliott makes $15 million a year based on new money.
However, those deals were made years ago during a pandemic when salary caps were far lower. The salary cap should only rise from here.
Regardless, there will be plenty of time to discuss this in the coming months if the Giants tag Barkley twice.