The New York Giants and running back Saquon Barkley have reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $11 million ahead of training camp, which includes a $2 million signing bonus, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Tuesday (July 25).
The reported move comes ahead of what could have been a lengthy potential holdout as both sides had previously failed to reach a long-term deal prior to last week's deadline.
"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," Rapoport tweeted.
Barkley had previously acknowledged that a season-long holdout was a possibility during an appearance on The Money Matters Podcast, which was recorded on July 11 and published on July 17, the same day of the franchise tag deadline.
"My leverage is I could say, 'f--- you' to the Giants, I could say, 'f--- you to my teammates,' " Barkley said (h/t NFL.com). "And be like, 'You want me to show you my worth? You want me to show you how valuable I am to the team? I won't show up. I won't play a down.' And that's a play I could use."
Barkley hadn't signed the franchise tag tender the Giants placed on him in March and, therefore, wouldn't have faced any fines for skipping the team's upcoming mandatory training camp as he isn't currently under contract. The former No. 2 overall pick was due a $10.091 million salary in 2023, as well as a 120% increase if he gets the franchise tag again in 2024.
"Anybody who knows me knows that's not something I want to do," Barkley said while addressing the possibly missing games. "But is it something that crossed my mind, I never thought I would ever do that. But now I'm at a point where it's like, 'Jesus, I might have to take it to this level.' Am I prepared and willing to take it to the level. I don't know. That's something I gotta sit down. I gotta sit down and talk to my family. I gotta sit down and talk to my team. gotta really strategize about this. Can't just go off emotions. I can try to get as much money as I can, but what really matters is winning. I know if I'm able to bring a championship to New York, that's going to go miles more ahead than this contract."
Barkley had previously tweeted "It is what it is" on July 20 after the franchise tag deadline passed.
The 26-year old was one of three players, along with Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, to have received the franchise tag and not reach a long-term deal with their teams prior to 4:00 p.m. ET. All three running backs will instead play the 2023 season on their respective franchise tenders, which will be worth $10.09 million based on their position.
Pollard had already signed his tender, while Barkley and Jacobs have, instead, held out from their teams' offseason programs amid failed negotiations to reach new deals. Giants co-owner John Mara said he spoke to Barkley during the offseason and claimed the running back expressed his desire to stay with the franchise for the remainder of his career at the time of the move.
“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.