PHOENIX – Giants GM Joe Schoen has reset his contract negotiations with Saquon Barkley, and head coach Brian Daboll is not sure if his running back will report to start the offseason program.
“There’s no outstanding offer right now,” Schoen said at the NFL owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. “Once we put the franchise tag on him, we stepped back. We knew throughout the negotiation there was gonna be a time where if we can’t come to an agreement, we were gonna go to the franchise tag. And that’s what we did.”
Schoen made clear the depressed running back market “doesn’t” impact how much he values Barkley.
“Saquon knows how I think about him,” Schoen said.
But the Giants are no longer working off the multi-year offer between $12-12.5 million per year that they had on the table in November and January.
Barkley is on the $10.1 million franchise tag for the 2023 season, a tender he hasn’t yet signed. And Schoen said he’s comfortable proceeding with Barkley on that cap hit this season.
“Where we are with him on the franchise tag, we’re fine with that,” he said.
Daboll said he last texted with Barkley about two weeks ago. Schoen and co-owner John Mara said they last spoke to Barkley 10 days ago. And Schoen said he has been in regular contact with Barkley’s agent.
However, Daboll couldn’t say whether Barkley will report for the start of the Giants’ offseason program on April 17.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’d say that would be a good question for Saquon.”
Mara admitted that “obviously you’d rather have [Barkley] in the building, so yeah it would be a concern” if he didn’t report. “But he has whatever rights he has under the CBA, so he’ll make his own decision,” he said.
The Giants’ co-owner said of Barkley’s state of mind: “I don’t think he’s thrilled about being tagged. But he’s a professional. He understands the business, and I’m still hopeful we’ll be able to come to an agreement with him.
“I told Saquon this: We want him to be a Giant for his entire career if that’s possible,” Mara said. “We’d like to get something done with him at some point. The running back market is what it is right now.”
Mara said he appealed to some standout Giants’ post-NFL careers when speaking with Barkley about what staying in New York would mean.
“We had a very good conversation,” Mara said. “I told him how much I wanted him here, I want him to be a Giant. My dream was that he would play his whole career as a Giant like Eli [Manning] did, like [Michael] Strahan did, like Tiki [Barber] did. And I mentioned to him, ‘Look what they’re doing off the field now.’ And I think he would like that, as well.
“But you just go through these negotiations with your better players. It’s not the first time we’ve been through it. And I’m still hopeful at some point that we’ll be able to get something done.”
Mara said “I don’t think so, no, when asked if the Giants might rescind the tag if the situation continues to sour. He said he doesn’t want to trade Barkley, either, though he didn’t rule it out completely.
“I don’t want to trade him,” he said. “We’re not looking to trade him. We’re not shopping him. And I’d be very surprised if we made that decision.”
The Giants co-owner added that the team’s message to Barkley is that “we very much want you back.”
“We want you to be one of the leaders of this team, want you to be one of the faces of this franchise,” Mara continued. “But there’s a limit as to how far we can go. We have to build a team around you. And we’ve gotten just about as far as we can.”