As soon as upon a time, the Giants rewarded an oft-injured game-breaker with a brand new top-dollar contract after he opted to not maintain out from coaching camp in his fifth season.
That difficult Odell Beckham Jr. negotiation from 2018 seems like baby’s play in comparison with what’s forward for the Giants and Saquon Barkley, whose once-ideal marriage has been turned to this point the wrong way up by accidents prior to now two years that it’s not doable to tell apart the best-case and worst-case eventualities for both aspect.
Barkley obtained his want this offseason when the Giants by no means critically thought-about buying and selling him for much-needed wage cap reduction, however there was by no means any public strain to increase him because the highest-paid participant at his place like there was when Beckham Jr. was getting into his stroll yr. Actually no considered a holdout.
Chalk it as much as the distinction of operating back-versus-receiver and the belief the Giants should not on the cusp of a deep playoff run, as was the delusion 4 years in the past. So, what does the long run maintain for Barkley and the Giants? Listed below are the probabilities:
Barkley performs nicely and is re-signed
It’s not as loopy because it sounds for Barkley to get again to his 2018 type of 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns from scrimmage.
One college of thought is a few gamers don’t return to full power till the second season after a significant knee harm just like the one Barkley suffered in September 2020. One other issue is Barkley lastly is in an offense able to utilizing his various dashing and receiving abilities somewhat than misfitting him like a Nineteen Nineties-style I-form energy again.
If this occurs, the Giants should resolve in the event that they need to be the newest crew to reset the operating again market. There shall be shouting from either side of the fence: Critics who level to a poor return on funding for the Rams (Todd Gurley) and — to this point — for the Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott) and Panthers (Christian McCaffrey), in addition to proponents who see Barkley as each an elite playmaker and face-of-the-franchise marketable star with the values co-owner John Mara cherishes.
Analytics say operating backs break down round age 30, however Barkley nonetheless will solely be 25 years previous when the 2022 season ends.
Barkley performs nicely and isn’t re-signed
How a lot does an incredible operating again affect successful? Of the 12 groups paying the very best salaries to operating backs in 2021, solely three made the playoffs. Since 2009, the common wage of the main rusher on the successful Tremendous Bowl crew is barely $1.09 million, in keeping with CBS Sports activities.
The franchise tag ($13 million) is perhaps an possibility, although the Giants may need that safety blanket to maintain quarterback Daniel Jones from free company. And asking Barkley to bypass long-term safety to play on his fifth-year possibility after which a franchise tag in back-to-back years might create the kind of unhealthy blood that has been deftly averted thus far.
The draw back in letting Barkley go away as a free agent is three-fold: Criticism for not getting something in return for one of many roster’s few belongings, reliving the 2018 choice to go on quarterback Josh Allen and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson to draft Barkley, and the concern that he fulfills his Corridor of Fame potential elsewhere.
A real pessimist would possibly say that the Giants allowed Barkley’s success to result in wins and worsen 2023 draft place with none long-term acquire.
Barkley performs nicely however the Giants begin poorly
Given Daniel Jones’ inconsistencies, the undermanned secondary and the reliance on inexperience on either side of the road, Barkley might be sensational and the Giants nonetheless might begin 2-6 or 1-7 for the fifth straight season. The Giants are 5-7 when he rushes for 100 yards and 2-5 when he has greater than 70 yards receiving in his profession.
On this situation, it will turn out to be apparent whether or not the Giants’ pondering in holding on to Barkley in March was that his worth could be greater earlier than the Nov. 1 commerce deadline than it was within the offseason. The Giants would wish to know by then what Barkley’s asking value shall be in free company.
Paying massive for operating backs shouldn’t be what Giants common supervisor Joe Schoen was uncovered to in his function as high lieutenant with the Payments. The Rams traded fourth- and sixth-round picks for a 2021 season of renting Sony Michel earlier than free company — and Michel’s ceiling is nowhere near Barkley’s.
Barkley performs poorly or isn’t wholesome
It’s virtually inconceivable to foresee a situation by which Barkley struggles however the Giants win usually. He’s nonetheless that essential.
If he’s no higher than final season — when he rushed for a career-low 3.7 yards per carry — or he provides considerably to the 22 whole video games missed because of harm during the last three seasons, then the writing is on the wall for going separate methods.
However the Giants could have wasted $7.2 million in cap house that would have been dumped in March and perhaps used to salvage cornerback James Bradberry. They are going to don’t have anything however a dreadful five-year file to indicate for the No. 2 decide within the 2018 draft.