Saquon Barkley’s brief holdout is over.
Barkley and the Giants reportedly agreed to a one-year deal early Tuesday after the star running back had not signed the team’s franchise tag tender. Per multiple reports, the one-year deal can be worth more than the $10.1 million Barkley would have made in 2023 had he signed the franchise tag.
Surprise! 🚨 🚨 🚨
The #Giants and star RB Saquon Barkley agreed to terms on a new 1-year deal worth up to $11M, sources say, as Barkley gives himself a chance to beat the franchise tag. He gets a $2M signing bonus.
Bottom line: Barkley is coming in & will be at training camp. pic.twitter.com/A5PR7RWLfQ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2023
According to Sports Illustrated, the base value of Barkley's deal is what he would have made playing under the franchise tag and the contract includes $900,000 of incentives on top of that. Per ESPN, the incentive thresholds include 1,300 rushing yards, 11 TDs and 65 catches.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen told Giants.com, "Obviously we are glad we were able to work things out with Saquon," Schoen said. "We all recognize the player and person Saquon is and what he means to our team."
Barkley rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 TDs while also catching 57 passes in 2022 as the Giants made the playoffs and advanced to the divisional round. Last season was the first since Barkley’s rookie year where he played all 16 games and his first season rushing for over 1,000 yards since he had 1,003 in 2019.
The one-year deal is an odd end to a contract stalemate that didn’t have much progression ahead of trading camp. Both Barkley and Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs didn’t sign their franchise tenders over the offseason as they were looking for long-term deals. Barkley’s contract leaves Jacobs as the only franchised player without a contract for the 2023 season.
A week ago, Barkley had posited that he could consider sitting out the 2023 season in an effort to force a long-term contract. He said in a podcast interview that sitting out the season was something that had crossed his mind, but admitted that he didn’t know if he was ready to take his demands for a multi-year deal as far as Le'Veon Bell famously did with the Steelers after he was franchised.
“Am I prepared to take it to that level? I don’t know,” Barkley said on the “Money Matters” podcast. “That’s something I got to sit down and talk to my family, I got to sit down and talk to my team. Got to really strategize about this. Can’t just go off of emotions.”
But a holdout by either Barkley or Jacobs was unlikely to single-handedly change the market. Bell’s holdout over the course of the 2018 season at the age of 26 backfired. He got over $28 million in two seasons with the Jets, but never rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season again and didn’t play in the NFL in 2022.
Will Jacobs take his holdout as far as Bell did? That seems unlikely, especially now that Barkley has a contract that Jacobs and his agent can use as a reference point in any negotiations with the Raiders.