Execs list possible solutions for Saquon Barkley deal

The summer is rolling on and NFL training camps will open in approximately two-and-a-half weeks. For the New York Giants, all of their business has been settled in their eyes.

All except for a new contract for star running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley is looking at playing under the franchise tag price of $10.1 million this season if a multi-year deal is not reached by July 17, which is eight days out from press time.

In a recent piece from Dan Graziano of ESPN, Barkley’s options are very limited, and he is not alone in the process.

Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders — last year’s rushing champ — is also facing playing this season under the tag, as is Dallas’ Tony Pollard.

With the running back market taking a major dip this offseason, it appears the teams have the upper hand. Graziano asked a group of NFL scouts and executives what some possible outcomes would be to these dilemmas.

The most popular response was to “do nothing” and “just franchise both [Barkley and Jacobs] this year and, if they play well and stay healthy, franchise them again next year,” Graziano wrote.

The other options were to sign the players to fair-market deals, two-year deals, or to rescind the tag altogether and move on. Here’s more on the two-year plan from Graziano:

The collective bargaining agreement requires that a second franchise tag be 120% of the previous year’s salary, so tagging Jacobs or Barkley (or Pollard) again next year would cost $12.11 million. That means you’d be paying them each $22.2 million total over the next two years. (These numbers are the reason that you have to offer a two-year cash flow of at least $24 million or so on a long-term deal if you want the player to even consider it.)

This makes sense from a cold business perspective. But it’s worth noting that none of the executives we spoke to work for the Raiders or Giants, which means it’s easy for them to take the cold business perspective without fear of the consequences that could potentially come with unhappy star players. If Jacobs and Barkley have hope of getting something done with their teams in the next 10 days, it lies in the non-economic calculus. Their teams have to be in the frame of mind that it’s important to make them happy, regardless of a market designed to limit their value.

The two-year contract worth $26 million was once thought to be the solution to Barkley’s demands. It gives him some security and also pays him the $13 million per annum, which is more in line with his market value.

But Barkley and his representatives have rejected similar offers from the Giants over the past year and now as the two sides come back to the table, someone is going to have to acquiesce.

But it doesn’t appear as if the Giants will be the ones to do so.

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