New York Giants' running back Saquon Barkley said he wasn't trying to reset the market with his upcoming free agent contract. However, it now appears that if the Giants want to retain Barkely, they'll have to be willing to pay.
When Barkley was asked about his free agent asking price, he was modest and acknowledged that his two injuries would hold him back from elite money. Yet, when the Giants offered Barkley $12 million a year, New York General Manager Joe Schoen said the two sides weren't close to a deal, via Fox Sports Ralph Vacchiano. What Barkley is actually looking for is now a bit clearer and it looks eerily similar to another Pro Bowl running back's contract.
“Barkley said yesterday he didn't necessarily want to set the market,” Vacchiano wrote. “Though I continue to hear he wants near Christian McCaffrey's $16M average.”
Christian McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million deal while he was still a member of the Carolina Panthers. His average salary is slightly north of $16 million. McCaffrey's base salary alone of $11.8 million is the highest in the NFL. Getting McCaffrey money would reset the market, as he is the highest paid RB in the league.
Saquon Barkley has had an impressive 2022, rushing 295 times for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns. He started 16 games, appearing healthier than he has in past seasons.
Barkley is looking to cash-in on his strong 2022. If the Giants want to re-sign him, they must make him one of the highest paid running backs in the league. If they don't, another team may look to make Barkley the focal point of their offense.