During the calm of their bye week, the Giants had long-term extension talks centered around keeping star running back Saquon Barkley for years to come, sources say. While no deal came to fruition, it was another sign of the team's commitment to one of their highest-performing players.
General manager Joe Schoen had told reporters on Nov. 2 that if the team was going to extend players during the season, it would only be during the bye.
"Then I probably wouldn't do anything after that," Schoen said. "I don't want anything to be a distraction to the players or the organization."
In fact, the team did have extension talks with Barkley, sources say, as the former No. 2 overall pick wants to be compensated as one of the highest paid backs in football. The team made a good run at it.
That opens up the possibility that Barkley is franchise-tagged this March. Barkley is in the final year of his rookie deal, earning $7.217 million on the fifth-year option. The Giants can only tag one player and quarterback Daniel Jones is also in the final year of his deal, creating an intriguing offseason for the G-Men.
Thanks to Jones being on pace to have his finest season yet with the surprise 6-2 Giants and Barkley currently ranking third in the NFL in rushing with 779 yards on 163 carries with five TDs, the team does have decisions to make. That's a best-case scenario.
The team also had long-term extension talks with versatile defensive back Julian Love, but those have also been tabled until the offseason, sources say.
For Barkley, the market for a RB will be fascinating. His camp sees him as a comp to Christian McCaffrey, the do-everything RB who became the game's highest paid back when he signed a four-year, $64 million deal in April of 2020, coming after a season that saw him eclipse 1,000 yards in both receiving and rushing. Barkley's agents want him paid close to what McCaffrey makes.
Meanwhile, Nick Chubb makes a little more than $12 million per year and is on his way to his fifth season of 996 yards or more. Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry both make between $12 and 14 million. Ezekiel Elliott makes $15 million per year based on new money.
But those deals were done years ago with a far lower salary cap, some of them during a pandemic. The cap should only go up from here.
If the Giants tag Barkley twice, it's likely around $27 million over two years. Regardless there will be plenty of time to discuss this in the coming months.
Now, the focus shifts back onto the field.