New York Giants Apply Franchise Tag To RB Saquon Barkley

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

With the 4:00 PM ET NFL franchise tag deadline looming on March 7, 2023, the New York Giants ended the mystery by applying the tag to running back Saquon Barkley.

Because the Giants had both quarterback Daniel Jones and Barkley on the verge of free agency, they had significant work to do.

The Giants signed Jones to a 4-year deal valued at $160 million.

Barkley’s tag is valued at $10.1 million.

Barkley’s NFL Career Has Been Full Of Highs And Lows

Saquon Barkley’s five-year NFL career has been bookended with Pro Bowl seasons in 2018 and 2022 with over 1,300 yards rushing.

The problem for Barkley is the in-between years which were injury-laden and not as dazzling as those two seasons.

Barkley played 2022 on the fifth-year option from his rookie contract.

The Giants are essentially giving themselves a one-year cushion to see if the Saquon Barkley of 2022 can put together two consecutive healthy and Pro Bowl-worthy seasons.

If he does, they will be offering him an extension at some point.

Barkley Is In Good Company

Six players were franchise tagged in 2023.

Three are running backs.

Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys and Josh Jacobs, the 2022 NFL rushing leader and Las Vegas Raider, are the others.

Whereas NFL quarterback contracts are skyrocketing in value, and length, and with more guaranteed money, the running back contracts are going the opposite way.

Because of the physicality of the position and always emerging young talent at each year’s NFL draft, the NFL running back has a shorter career.

Many say that 30 is when a running back’s skills begin to wane.

Compare that with the age of NFL quarterbacks.

Tom Brady played until he was 45, and Aaron Rodgers is 39.

Saquon Barkley is 26 years old and when he negotiates his contract extension (with the Giants or whomever), he will be 27 years old and it may only be a three-year deal.

We should be prepared for the trend of franchise tagging running backs to continue in the years to come.

In the meantime, the Giants were able to keep their core pair of young players, Jones and Barkley, together at least for the 2023 season.

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