Saquon Barkley ‘disappointed’ with Giants deal, signed after ‘epiphany’

Saquon Barkley ‘disappointed’ with Giants deal, signed after ‘epiphany’
Video did the giants sign saquon barkley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Running back Saquon Barkley said he was seriously considering sitting out games into the regular season because of his contract dispute with the New York Giants. Then he had an epiphany.

Barkley signed an adjusted franchise tag and reported with the rest of his teammates Tuesday. It was a one-year deal for $10.1 million with close to an additional $1 million in available incentives, sources told ESPN. It also included a $2 million up-front signing bonus.

It was not the long-term deal he wanted.

The Pro Bowl running back, who finished fourth in rushing with 1,312 yards last season, did not miss a single day of training camp, but he also did not get the Giants to agree to a “no tag” clause for next year. It’s conceivable the two sides will be in the same position next year. This is among the reasons Barkley isn’t ecstatic about the final result, even though both parties are happy he’s with the team in camp.

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“I can sit here and lie to you and be like, ‘I wasn’t disappointed,’ or ‘I wasn’t this and that or a third.’ That would just be a flat-out lie,” Barkley said. “But I am mature enough to understand that it’s a business. Understand that deals don’t get done every year.

“Specific to my position, we didn’t get a deal done. Me and my team felt we were in good faith trying to get a deal done. The Giants felt they were in good faith trying to get a deal done. That’s life. Sometimes you don’t come to an agreement. I had to come to a decision and, like I said, I had an epiphany. I had a mindset of what I was going to do. I changed my mind.”

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Barkley, 26, had said last month at his AMPT football camp that sitting out the season would be part of the conversation if there was no long-term deal by the July 17 deadline.

He had planned to not sign the tag and was contemplating sitting out regular-season games, including the Sept. 10 opener on “Sunday Night Football” against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

“Yeah, I was. That’s a play that I have,” Barkley said. “But I’ll be completely honest, if I sat out this year and, say, the New York Football Giants, we didn’t have a good record, do you think that is going to make another team in free agency or the Giants want to have me come back the next year after I sat out the whole year and be like, ‘We want to give you $15 million a year now?’ I don’t think that is how that is going to work.

“After having conversations and really breaking it down, when you sit there and break it down like that, the only way that I’m going to make a change or do something that is for the benefit for myself and my family is doing what I do best. And that is showing up, playing the game I love and doing it at a high level.”

Ever since the Giants signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a long-term deal in March, Barkley had the franchise tag hanging over his head. He felt that shaped the negotiations and put him at a disadvantage over the 9½ months the two sides tried to get a long-term deal done.

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Barkley and the Giants did get close to a deal by last week’s deadline, sources told ESPN. One of the final offers reached at least $22.2 million guaranteed, which was the value of the possible franchise tags for this year and next.

“If I felt like it was something that was respectable, I would have took it,” Barkley said on why he turned down the deal. “I looked at my mom, my dad, looked at my team, my family and I didn’t agree with it. So I didn’t take it. If I felt like it was [respectable], I would have.”

Barkley could have fought to keep the Giants from using the franchise tag again next year, but it was important for him to be back on the field and in the locker room with his teammates.

“It feels good,” he said. “It feels good to be back in the locker room.”

Barkley had said last month that this was all about respect. He just wanted to be compensated for what he was worth. He’s fine where it has wound up.

“Yeah, I would say in the end I got respect from the Giants because I was able to look [general manager] Joe [Schoen] in his eyes, look [coach Brian Daboll] in his eyes, and obviously we didn’t come to an agreement.

“But we were able to put everything aside. And that is part of the business. It’s a business.”