The Saquon Barkley saga didn't have the outcome either side wanted, but the New York Giants and the running back agreed on a new deal ahead of the start of training camp.
Big Blue and Barkley agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth up to $11 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday morning, per sources informed of the situation. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus.
The Giants officially announced that Barkley had signed his tender later Tuesday morning.
It's rare for a franchise-tagged player to negotiate terms on a one-year deal, but Barkley's ability to at least get a shot at making a shade more than the tender dictated was a bridge to getting the back to camp.
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo added that no provision in the contract prevents the Giants from franchise-tagging Barkley again next year. A second tag in 2024 would be worth a 120% increase on his 2023 salary.
The contract ends questions about whether and when the star running back would report to New York. Barkley indicated multiple times this offseason that he'd consider sitting out the season if a long-term deal wasn't struck.
Ultimately, he agreed to a minorly enhanced franchise tag figure to get him to camp on time with the rest of his teammates.
Barkley's situation, along with that of Josh Jacobs' in Las Vegas, has been the primer for recent discussions surrounding the diminishing market for running backs. It will be interesting to see how his new deal is received by his fellow backs.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2018 burst onto the scene in dynamic fashion, earning 2,028 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Then injuries began to pile up.
Barkley earned another 1,000-yard rushing season in 2019 but played just 13 games, a sign of things to come. He suffered an ACL tear two games into 2020 and never looked himself in 2021.
The back returned to form in 2022, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 TDs on 295 carries, helping carry the Giants to a surprising playoff run.
Barkley remains a critical piece of Brian Daboll's offense, owning the ability to occupy defenders and hit a home run on any snap.
Entering the offseason, Giants general manager Joe Schoen's goal was to keep quarterback Daniel Jones and Barkley in New York long-term. That plan didn't work out as well as the Giants hoped, but at least Big Blue will have both on the field in 2023 as they attempt to continue their build under Daboll.
Then next offseason, we could see this dance again.