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Saquon Barkley, Giants unable to reach long-term contract ahead of franchise tag deadline

Saquon Barkley's future in New York remains cloudy after sides couldn't agree on a long-term contract by Monday's deadline, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported.

The deadline for the franchise-tagged Barkley and Big Blue to come to a multi-year agreement was Monday, meaning the running back can now only play on a one-year deal.

After striking a big-money deal with quarterback Daniel Jones in early March, the Giants placed the $10.091 million non-exclusive franchise tag on Barkley, sparking drama-filled offseason negotiations that eventually came up fruitless.

Sides can still negotiate terms of a one-year pact, but a multi-year contract is off the table for 2023.

The Giants can franchise tag Barkley again in 2024 for a 120% increase on his 2023 contract. Back-to-back franchise tags on the RB would run New York $22.2 million over two seasons.

With the window closed on a multi-year deal, the question pivots to when Barkley could report. Having not signed the tender, he's not currently under contract, therefore, not subject to fines for skipping training camp, which begins July 25.

Last month, the 26-year-old did not rule out the possibility he'd consider sitting out the 2023 season without a long-term deal, noting it's a "conversation" to be had once the deadline passed. The last player to sit out an entire season was Le'Veon Bell in 2018.

Barkley could also decide to skip the season's start and report later to avoid missing the entire campaign.

The Giants made Barkley the No. 2 overall pick in 2018 under then-general manager Dave Gettleman. The running back got off to a hot start, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year after generating 2,028 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns. He backed that up with another 1,000-yard rushing campaign in 2019 despite playing just 13 games.

Then injuries derailed the train.

Barkley played just two games in 2020 before suffering a torn ACL. He didn't look like himself in his return in 2021, rushing for 593 yards on 162 carries with two TDs in 13 games.

Last season, the star RB got back on track, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 TDs on 295 carries as the focal point of Big Blue's playoff run. With his burst back, Barkley finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and tied for the team lead with 57 catches.

The production set up this offseason's stare-down.

There is no question Barkley is critical to Brian Daboll's offense. Not only does he provide home-run ability, his dual-threat capability forces defenses to take note anytime he's on the field, opening up the rest of the offense.

However, the diminishing running back pay scale and GM Joe Schoen's desire to avoid pushing the top of the market led to the stalemate.

The July 17 deadline is in the rearview, but the questions about Barkley's future in 2023 and beyond remain a big-time question for Big Blue as we gear up for training camp.

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