It’s a good thing for Saquon Barkley that first live action means everything is more than seven weeks away. This should be more than enough time for Barkley to regroup emotionally and psychologically, given that he’s been given tons of help by a harsh reality that players say they understand, but really don’t, until it happens to them.
When he calms down – the “cooler heads prevail” thing – he should know that missing part of Giants training camp won’t be a big deal, but missing even a minute of the regular season won’t matter to him at all.
It’s easy to repeat the standard line about the NFL being “a business” and believe you know what that means. It doesn’t really resonate until there’s a moment of pushing, and it’s the team doing all the pushing.
If you think you are special then you are wrong. If you think they will give you more because you deserve it, you are being foolish. If you think that what happened to “him” won’t happen to you because you’re different and your team values you more, you’re kidding yourself.
One player agent, who has been involved in more than his share of brief negotiations, told The Post, “These teams are very bad and when they have you, they have you.”
The Giants did not offer Daniel Jones a $160 million contract on grounds of righteousness. This is what the market demanded they pay for a superior, mid-tier starting quarterback. The Giants handed Dexter Lawrence a $90 million total deal because that’s what the other top defensive tackles in the league are doing. If the Giants could have secured these players by paying less, they would have done so.
The Giants put a $10.1 million franchise tag on Barkley because it was a smart thing to do. There was disappointment inside the building that a long-term deal didn’t materialize, but Barkley is taking a big risk here.
Sure, the Giants risk alienating their best offensive weapon and creating a negative reaction in a locker room that respects Barkley. However, the team almost always finds a way to move forward. Barkley’s refusal to accept the $22 million guaranteed money can be seen as a supreme athlete betting on himself, but let’s not forget what John Mellencamp sang about what happens when you fight authority.
Barkley is getting all kinds of advice, well-intentioned, but perhaps not challenging enough when it comes to dollars versus prudence. There is a good chance that he will never be offered a deal for the rest of his NFL career that guarantees him $22 million. It might have been more a matter of pride than discretion to turn down that offer.
If the Giants rescinded the franchise tag today and Barkley was on the open market, would there be a team willing to pay him $10 million? This is highly suspicious. Would there be a team willing to guarantee Barkley $22 million? This is even more suspicious. Would general manager Joe Schoen have contributed an additional $1 million in honor of Barkley’s reputation as team captain, respected leader, and his desire to be a lifelong legend? Yes, in theory. But extending the offer just because doesn’t work that way.
The Giants didn’t devalue the running back position, and they sure won’t buck that trend, even for one of the best backs in the league.
Barkley will not, and should not, report when the Giants players assemble for the start of training camp on Tuesday. Here’s something else Barkley shouldn’t do: miss a regular season snap. This would cost him $560,000 per game and work against him every which way. From now on, every yard he gains, every pass he catches, every touchdown he scores, goes on his asset list for his 2024 contract with the Giants or elsewhere.
He should hold out as long as he feels he can do so without compromising his ability to get 20-25 touches in September. 10 season-opener against the Cowboys. The longer he is away, the greater the danger that upon his return, in his haste to make up for lost time, he will sprain a hamstring or calf or Achilles.
Barkley felt he deserved better and more from the Giants. Speaking on “The Money Matters” podcast last week — before the July 17 deadline approached and he went to strike a long-term deal — Barkley vented his frustration, saying some vulgar things, something he avoids doing in public. When he said, “My advantage is I can ‘f-k you’ to the Giants, I can say, ‘f-k you to my teammates,'” he wasn’t actually dismissing the team or his teammates. He was merely pointing to a possible course of action in anger.
When he warned: “You want me to show you how valuable I am to the team? I will not come forward. “I won’t play down,” he said quickly, “it’s a game I can use.”
his next line? “Any [who] I know I know it’s not something I want to do.
This is not something he should do. For his own sake.