Giants RB Saquon Barkley reportedly won't sign franchise tag before start of offseason program

Barkley, 26, got the tag in March while his teammate, QB Daniel Jones, got a four-year, $160 million contract.

Jan 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles before NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

Saquon Barkley headshot
Saquon Barkley
RB - PHI - #26
2022 - 2023 season

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.

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