Sep 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs with the ball during warmups for their game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Giants GM on Saquon Barkley departure: ‘Can’t keep them all’

The New York Giants suffered one of the marquee departures in free agency when running back Saquon Barkley signed a $37.75 million deal with NFC East rival Philadelphia two weeks ago.

General manager Jim Schoen has been busy tweaking the Giants’ roster since, and he had a pragmatic answer when asked about Barkley’s departure at the NFL owners meetings on Monday.

“I wish Saquon nothing but the best,” Schoen told reporters. “You can’t keep them all. He did a lot for the franchise. Walter Payton Man of the Year, a lot of production. I enjoyed working with him for two years and everything he did for (coach Brian Daboll) and I in that playoff run (in 2022). I wish him nothing but the best.”

Barkley, 27, rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns in 14 starts last season, just shy of his fourth 1,000-yard season. He has been replaced, at least for the time being, by former Texans and Bills running back Devin Singletary, who leads a backfield depth chart that also includes Gary Brightwell and Eric Gray.

Schoen also signed guards Aaron Stinnie from Tampa Bay and Jon Runyan from Green Bay, tackle Jermaine Eluemunor from Las Vegas and backup center Austin Schlottmann from Minnesota in an effort to bolster a group that allowed a league-high 85 sacks last season.

The offensive line was the primary focus of free agency for Schoen, who also made a big splash with the trade and signing of pass rusher Brian Burns.

The Giants also hold the No. 6 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft and own three of the top 70 picks overall. Schoen predictably played his cards close to his vest when asked about how he is approaching the draft.

“We’ll look at all options, whether it’s going up, back, staying,” he said. “Ultimately, I think we’ll end up with a good player.”

Whether that is one of the several highly-touted quarterbacks in this class remains to be seen. Schoen said Daniel Jones is “on the right track” in his return from injury, while Drew Lock was signed to compete for the backup job along with Tommy DeVito.

This is seen as a critical year for Schoen and Daboll, who made waves two years ago with the Giants making the playoffs only to plummet to 6-11 last season.

“It takes time, as much as you want instant gratification, and nobody wants that more than me,” Schoen said. “I think you have to believe in the principles and in terms of how to build the team, and we’re going on our third draft. It takes time.

“When I look back at the 2021 roster and where we are now, I just think we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ll continue to head in the right direction in terms of bringing in our type of players and what we’re looking for schematically, what Dabs is looking at for his offense, and we’ll keep making progress.”

–Field Level Media

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) heads to the goal line in the second quarter past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nolan Smith (3), Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Saquon Barkley jumps to Eagles for reported $37.5M deal

Star running back Saquon Barkley switched NFC East clubs on Monday when he agreed to a deal with the rival Philadelphia Eagles.

The former New York Giants standout reportedly agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million deal that could eventually be worth $46.75 million. There is reportedly $26 million in guaranteed money.

Barkley’s $12.5 million annual average salary is currently fourth-highest among running backs, according to spotrac.

Barkley confirmed the news with two Eagles’ emojis on social media and then thanked New York fans in a follow-up post.

“Thank you to everyone who has shown me love and support over the past 6 years,” said Barkley, “forever grateful! Excited for the next chapter.”

Last week, the Giants declined to put the franchise tag on Barkley, the former No. 2 overall draft pick in 2018 who has rushed for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,201 carries in 74 games (all starts). He also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection figures to provide a jolt to the Philadelphia rushing attack that lost D’Andre Swift to the Chicago Bears earlier Monday.

Last season, Barkley rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns. He has three 1,000-yard campaigns in his six seasons. Barkley also caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) after game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Eagles, RB Saquon Barkley have mutual interest

The Philadelphia Eagles and running back Saquon Barkley have a mutual interest heading into the start of free agency, according to multiple reports.

The New York Post and Philadelphia’s WIP radio both reported Thursday on Barkley’s potential move from the New York Giants to their NFC East rivals.

The Giants opted not to put the franchise tag on Barkley earlier this week, and the two-time Pro Bowl selection is set to become a free agent for the first time.

Barkley, who turned 27 last month, is coming off a 2023 season with 1,242 yards from scrimmage and 10 scores.

Drafted by the Giants with the No. 2 pick in 2018, Barkley has rushed for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,201 carries in 74 games (all starts). He also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

D’Andre Swift, 25, rushed for 1,049 yards in his first season with his hometown Eagles in 2023 but is also a free agent.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is shown with the ball against the Jets. The Giants' star running back is on the verge of hitting free agency and there is plenty of debate over his uncertain future with Big Blue.

No tag for Giants RB Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley appears headed for free agency for the first time in his NFL career, avoiding the franchise tag ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to apply the restrictive roster marker.

General manager Joe Schoen said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine the Giants weren’t taking the tag off the table, but the team opted against tagging Barkley for a second straight year because of a cost of $12.1 million, according to multiple reports.

“We don’t want to do it. In a perfect world, we don’t want to do that again,” Schoen said.

The free agent market might not produce a massive payday based on the apparent devaluation of the running back position. The unrestricted free agent market at running back includes Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys), who were also tagged in 2023, plus Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans) and Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers).

Being tagged in 2023 irked Barkley, 27, who since made it clear he felt the Giants were disloyal by not making a long-term commitment. After totaling a career-high 1,312 rushing yards in 16 games in 2022, Barkley settled for an adjusted one-year tender offer for the 2023 season. But he skipped voluntary exit interviews with head coach Brian Daboll under an “open door” policy and said he was “numb” to the business side of the NFL.

Schoen said last week the Giants met with Barkley’s new agent during the combine and expressed optimism about coming to an agreement with the two-time Pro Bowl selection.

“I think we’ve all grown — Saquon, myself, the organization, through the last 12, 13, 14 months,” Schoen said, noting that Barkley’s new agent, Ed Berry, is someone with whom they have a “really good” relationship. “Saquon may be in a different place now than he was then in terms of understanding the market and the business side of it. I’m looking forward to having those conversations with him.”

Drafted by the Giants with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley started all 14 games he played in last season, rushing for 962 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four scores.

In six seasons with the Giants, Barkley has rushed for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,201 carries in 74 games (all starts). He also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Las Vegas Raiders safety Tre'von Moehrig (25) during the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Giants RB Saquon Barkley: ‘Loyalty means nothing’ in NFL

Saquon Barkley stands as perhaps the lone reliable, healthy option for the New York Giants’ offense 10 games into the regular season.

But Barkley still feels the burn of a contract standoff in the offseason, when he grudgingly came to terms on a modified franchise tag contract at a rate of $10.1 million in salary plus nearly $1 million available in incentives.

On Sunday at the Washington Commanders, Barkley will make his second start alongside undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito and figures prominently in the gameplan. But he doesn’t have any preconceived notion about what being “old reliable” might mean to his bottom line come March and contract time.

“Loyalty means nothing,” he said. “Loyalty, that don’t mean nothing. No matter how loyal, no matter how committed you are, it’s a business at the end of the day. That is something that I have learned.”

Barkley leads the Giants with 586 rushing yards. New York has eight offensive touchdowns and ranked last in total offense.

At 26, he’s nearly out of what NFL evaluators consider prime production years for a running back.

Barkley was asked Thursday if he has contemplated that taking on a heavy workload for the rest of an otherwise lost season — in terms of contending and returning to the playoffs — could actually hurt his pocketbook because of the wear and tear on his body.

“Yeah, it’s really crazy when you break it down like that. It’s just the way the business is,” Barkley said. “When you’re a premier back in this league — not to talk about myself — they feed you the ball because it helps you and gives you an opportunity to win games more times than not. And then when it comes to contract or a certain time and you’re a running back, you having so much miles on you, it’s a crazy concept.

“I try my best not to think about that or I would go insane. I just try to keep focus on the love of the game, take care of my body and whenever the opportunity comes to talk contract again — whether it’s with the Giants or another team — hopefully I’m able to pull the film or pull up numbers to be able to get a contract that is the best for me and my family.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) scores a  touchdown in the game against the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Giants RB Saquon Barkley ‘alright’ after hyperextending elbow

Running back Saquon Barkley said he hyperextended his elbow during the New York Giants’ 14-7 win over the visiting Washington Commanders on Sunday.

The brief injury scare did not stop Barkley from returning to the game and catching what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the second quarter for New York (2-5).

Barkley was attended to by trainers during the Giants’ second possession. He hurt his left elbow when he was tackled out of bounds into a kicking net by Jamin Davis of Washington.

Matt Breida took two handoffs while Barkley was out, but he returned on the Giants’ next drive wearing a sleeve on his left arm.

“I’ll be alright,” Barkley told reporters postgame.

Barkley finished Sunday’s game with 77 rushing yards on 21 carries and three receptions for 41 yards.

Barkley had already missed three games this season with an ankle sprain. This latest knock came days after Barkley insisted he did not want the Giants to trade him, and the Giants in turn told Barkley they planned to keep him past the trade deadline.

Barkley played in 16 games last season and totaled a career-high 1,312 rushing yards. But he and the Giants couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal, as he settled for an adjusted franchise tag.

In six seasons with the Giants, Barkley has rushed for 4,533 yards and 30 touchdowns on 1,028 carries in 64 games (all starts). He also has 263 receptions for 1,907 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In the same game Sunday, the Giants saw reserve running backs Gary Brightwell (hamstring) and Eric Gray (calf) exit with injuries. The Commanders lost Cody Barton to an ankle injury and guard Saahdiq Charles to a calf issue.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Sept. 17, 2023.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley inactive for MNF

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will officially miss Monday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks as one of the team’s five inactive players.

Barkley has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury during New York’s game-winning drive in a 31-28 road win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 17. He then sat out the Giants’ 30-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers four days later.

Giants coach Brian Daboll had said Barkley would be a game-time decision after he took part in limited practice on Saturday. However, Barkley was listed as doubtful on the injury report and was considered a long-shot to play Monday night as the Giants face upcoming road games at Miami and Buffalo.

Barkley leads New York (1-2) with 155 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. In his place, the Giants will lean on backups Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell.

Also out for Monday’s night’s game is left tackle Andrew Thomas, who has a hamstring injury. He will be replaced by Josh Ezeudu.

The Seahawks will also be without their blind-side protector for quarterback Geno Smith, as left tackle Charles Cross is inactive with a toe injury. He is one of seven inactives for Seattle, a list that also includes backup cornerbacks Coby Bryant, Tre Brown and Artie Burns.

Seattle will regain the services of safety Jamal Adams, who has not played since suffering a season-ending torn quad tendon in the 2022 season opener.

The game will also mark Adams’ return to MetLife Stadium, where he played three seasons with the New York Jets until Seattle acquired him in a July 2020 trade.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety K'Von Wallace (22) tackles New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Giants RB Saquon Barkley (ankle) ruled out vs. 49ers

New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley has been ruled out of Thursday’s road game against the San Francisco 49ers due to a sprained ankle.

Giants coach Brian Daboll initially told reporters on Tuesday that Barkley would be a game-time decision against the 49ers (2-0). On Wednesday, the team’s injury report listed Barkley as out, along with offensive linemen Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and Ben Bredeson (concussion) as well as linebacker Azeez Ojulari (hamstring).

Barkley and Bredeson did not practice on Wednesday, while Thomas, Ojulari joined wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) and linebacker Micah McFadden (neck) in being limited. Robinson and McFadden are listed as questionable to face San Francisco.

Barkley, 26, hurt his right ankle during the Giants’ game-winning drive in a 31-28 road win over the Arizona Cardinals. He took a 2-yard carry up the middle and appeared to get his ankle caught under Arizona linebacker Krys Barnes with 1:08 left in the game.

Through two games, Barkley has rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries and caught nine passes for 41 yards and another score for the Giants (1-1).

Barkley missed time with ankle injuries in 2019 and 2021. His 2020 season was also cut short due to a torn ACL in Week 2.

Running back Matt Breida will receive increased playing time in the absence of Barkley. Breida, 28, carried the ball 54 times for 220 yards (4.1 yards per carry) in 17 games with the Giants last season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) looks for room to run against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Chubb on RB pay: ‘There’s really nothing we can do’

A group of top NFL running backs met via Zoom to discuss the salaries being paid at the position, and Cleveland Browns star Nick Chubb had a sobering message for his fellow running backs.

“Right now, there’s really nothing we can do,” Chubb told ESPN on Sunday.

Chubb confirmed to the outlet that he was among the players to take part in the videoconference on Saturday, which Pro Football Talk reported was the brainchild of Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers. Chubb said Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley were among the running backs who joined in.

The meeting came on the heels of Barkley (New York Giants), Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys) all being unable to reach multi-year contracts ahead of the deadline for franchise-tagged players.

ESPN said the running backs brainstormed ideas but did not come up with any plans to address ways to boost their pay.

“We’re kind of handcuffed with the situation. We’re the only position that our production hurts us the most,” Chubb said, per ESPN. “If we go out there and run 2,000 yards with so many carries, the next year they’re going to say, you’re probably worn down. It’s tough. … It hurts us at the end of the day.”

Barkley and Jacobs both were franchise tagged by their teams but have not signed their franchise tenders, worth $10.09 million for the 2023 season. Pollard signed his tag and is expected to report to training camp. Barkley and Jacobs are not, per ESPN.

The average salary for an NFL running back is $1.76 million, which is about $1 million less than the average for a player on offense, according to Spotrac. The average salary for a left tackle is $8.95 million, by contrast.

McCaffrey is playing on a four-year, $64 million contract extension signed with the Carolina Panthers — the highest annual average pay at the position.

“This is Criminal,” McCaffrey tweeted about the contract situations facing Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard. “Three of the best PLAYERS in the entire league, regardless of position.”

Chubb agreed.

“We’re definitely in a tough situation, running backs as a whole,” he said. “Saquon’s a great player and you can ask anyone around the league or even on the Giants how much he means to that team. So it’s hard seeing him not get what he deserves.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 13, 2023; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) during minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Top RBs plan Zoom call to discuss depressed market

Los Angeles Chargers star running back Austin Ekeler has organized a online video call on Saturday night with several of his peers to discuss the depressed market at their position, Pro Football Talk reported.

Per the report, all of the high-profile running backs have been invited to the conversation on the Zoom platform. The NFL Players Association also will take part in some capacity.

The reported call comes on the heels of star running backs Saquon Barkley (New York Giants), Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys) all unable to reach multi-year contracts ahead of the deadline for franchise-tagged players.

That brought about very vocal responses over social media from fellow running backs Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts), Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), Christian McCaffrey (San Francisco 49ers) and Najee Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers), among others.

Ekeler, himself, also was unable to receive a long-term contract and is heading into the final season of a four-year, $24.5-million deal with the Chargers.

–Field Level Media