The New York Giants reportedly placed the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The report came in minutes before the franchise tag deadline passed at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and after weeks of speculation about Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones' futures with the Giants.
But when Jones and the Giants agreed on a four-year, $160 million deal, the team quickly tagged Barkley to lock up their running back for another year. Barkley will earn $10.091 million guaranteed in 2023 if he plays on the tag. The team also has until July 15 to negotiate a long-term extension.
There was cause for concern all week after reports surfaced Tuesday morning that the Giants would tag Jones if they couldn't reach a contract agreement. That could conceivably have meant the team was willing to let Barkley enter unrestricted free agency after negotiations reportedly "stalled" between the running back and the Giants.
Instead, Barkley returns to a team where he finished with a career-high 1,312 rushing yards in 2023. He added 10 rushing touchdowns and 57 receptions for 338 yards.
The negotiations of Jones and Barkley have dominated the Giants' offseason thus far. Jones was clearly the priority, but the Giants reportedly offered Barkley a deal worth $12 million per season, according to The Athletic, which Barkley declined. Barkley said he wasn't "really too concerned with resetting any markets” with his next contract, but ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported in late February that there was a "clear gap" between the running back and the Giants.
For now, the Giants can be happy they have both Jones and Barkley under contract for at least one more season.