New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen said the team recently spoke to running back Saquon Barkley about his contract situation and paused negotiations for the NFL Draft, but will continue talks moving forward with the intention of having him back.
"We talked with his representatives last week," Schoen said during an appearance on Good Morning Football. "We had initial talks on where we might be in terms of numbers or trying to get something done, what the appetite is to get a deal done and we said, 'hey, we'll step back, let the draft take place and then we'll circle back up.' At some point over the next couple of days we'll circle back up, we'll have some conversations in terms of where we are, where they may be and see if we can get something done.
"Saquon's a very good football player. He was a captain last year, he's a good locker room guy. I love him, we want him to be here, but you've got to have a deal where both parties are happy with where you end up and that's what we're going to try to work for and see if we can get something we can both agree on."
Last month, Newsday's Kimberly Jones reported that Barkley wouldn't sign his franchise tag and would, therefore, be ineligible to participate in the Giants' offseason program. New York placed a non-exclusive franchise tag worth $10.091 million on Barkley in March as the two sides continued to negotiate on a long-term deal, with conversations dating back to the team's bye week last November, with the franchise tag decision coming amid an agreement with quarterback Daniel Jones on a massive new deal.
Giants co-owner John Mara had previously said that he spoke to Barkley during the offseason and claims the running back expressed his desire to stay with the franchise for the remainder of his career.
“We had a very good conversation,” Mara said at the NFL's annual league meetings last month via Newsday. “I told him how much I wanted him here, wanted him to be a Giant. My dream is that he play his whole career as a Giant like Eli did, like Strahan did, like Tiki did. And I mentioned to him: Look what they're doing off the field now. I think he would like that as well.”
Barkley was selected by the Giants at No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and had immediate success during his first season, winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and earning his first Pro Bowl selection. The former Penn State running back was, however, limited by injuries during his next three seasons, which included missing 14 games in 2020.
Barkley had a career resurgence in 2022, recording a career-best 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns on 295 rushing attempts, as well as 57 receptions for 338 yards, having been selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time, in 2022.