The running back discourse is dominating most of NFL talk today. The massive gap in pay between RBs and other positions players is starting to get noticed. Star players like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs are taking lower deals simply because teams value them differently. Former NFL RB Le'Veon Bell defended his fellow position players... but it came at the expense of Barkley's New York Giants teammate Daniel Jones, per AP.
Le'Veon Bell questioned why 'top tier' running back Saquon Barkley got an $11 million deal compared to 'bottom tier' quarterback Daniel Jones' $40 million salary. pic.twitter.com/DU8CIIsAoo
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) July 28, 2023
For context, Daniel Jones signed a $40 million per year contract with the Giants at the start of the offseason. Meanwhile, Barkley was franchise tagged almost immediately, and eventually took a deal that is similar to the franchise tag contract initially offered. Barkley was one of the best running backs last season, making the disparity even more mind-boggling.
The Giants' situation highlights the massive change in team building philosophy in the NFL. Now, having a good quarterback is highly valuable, while running backs (at least the traditional running backs) are being less valued by teams. While Jones isn't a “bottom-tier” QB like Le'Veon said, he's also not a top-tier player at his position. It's just that the market for QBs today make him so much more valuable.
Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley and co. are having trouble getting long-term contracts from their team. Teams cite the insane wear-and-tear running backs take as a reason why they're unwilling to give them long-term money. This is part of the reason why the top RBs of the league held a meeting in order to discuss their course of action.