Running back Saquon Barkley won't sign his franchise tender with the New York Giants before the start of the team's offseason program, according to Kim Jones of Newsday and Adam Schefter of ESPN. That means Barkley will be ineligible to participate in the program when it begins next week.
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) April 12, 2023
Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley does not plan to sign his franchise tender before the team’s upcoming off-season program begins Monday, making him ineligible to participate, as @KimJonesSports reported.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 12, 2023
It's unclear if Barkley, 26, won't sign his franchise tag at all, as Jones reports, or if he might sign it before the July 15 deadline but won't do it before the offseason program begins next week, as Schefter implied. The offseason program isn't mandatory, but it wouldn't necessarily matter if it was: until he signs the tag, he's not technically a member of the Giants.
Meanwhile, Giants Pro Bowl nose tackle Dexter Lawrence will be acting like he's not a member of the Giants, as the New York Daily News reports he has decided to skip the beginning of the offseason program over another unresolved contract situation. Lawrence, a former first-round pick, is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
That leaves the Giants without important players on both sides of the ball as they begin preparations for next season.
Barkley, who was drafted by the Giants in 2018 with the second overall pick, was tagged just before the deadline on March 7. He'll be paid $10.1 million in 2023 if he signs the tag. Barkley's teammate, quarterback Daniel Jones, got a four-year, $160 million contract from the Giants on the same day.
Following the Giants blowout playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in January, Barkley told the media that he wants to be a "Giant for life." He also said that he'd be "upset" if the Giants used their franchise tag on him.
Barkley is not the only player who hasn't signed their franchise tag yet this offseason. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram and Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs haven't signed their tenders, and will not be able to participate in their teams' offseason programs either.