With neither first-team All-Pro Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders nor two-time Pro Bowler Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants agreeing to long-term contracts for franchise-tagged players until Monday’s deadline, an ominous feeling ensues the familiarity of the procedure.
Apparently, both running backs would prefer long-term contracts to the $10.091 million one-year salary that comes with signing the contract, although now neither can negotiate a long-term contract with their teams until after the season due to missing the Monday deadline became . And both, it seems, would have benefited if the other signed such a deal to reignite the running back market after it plummeted this offseason.
Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards (1,653) and yards from scrimmage (2,053) last season while scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground and catching 53 passes. Barkley rushed for a career-best 1,312 yards while notching 10 rushing touchdowns and also catching 57 passes for 338 yards. He took third place in the Comeback Player of the Year poll.
Both appear poised for a payday, but the running back position has been devalued in recent years. Like the Raiders and Giants, where do they go from here? You have questions, we have answers. New York Giants reporter Jordan Raanan, Las Vegas Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez and senior NFL national reporter Jeremy Fowler explain things.
Why didn’t Barkley or Jacobs sign a long-term deal?
Barkley: It’s guaranteed money. The Giants offered Barkley multiple deals and packages that could total nearly $14 million per season, including incentives and all sorts of bonuses. But the sticking points were guaranteed money and structure.
The magic number was $22.2 million. That’s the amount of the franchise tag this year ($10.1 million) and the potential for that next year is $12.1 million. In general, that’s what a player needs to even be able to think about a deal on the day. It seems the Giants never got there.
“Read between the lines,” Barkley reiterated last month when offering his thoughts on how the contract situation is publicly portrayed.
He was referring to the guaranteed money that prevented both sides from agreeing on a long-term deal after nine months of haggling. — Jordan Raanan
Jacobs: Aside from a few cryptic tweets, Jacobs remained relatively coy on the situation throughout the offseason — though he gave a brief glimpse of his feelings the day after the Raiders’ season ended and admitted he wanted to return to Las Vegas, albeit for a longer one Time – term contract and with the security and, well, the respect that it offers.
“To me,” he said at the time, “it has to make sense.” Like in dollars and cents, right? “But obviously this is where I want to be.” In June, Jacobs took to Twitter and explained his thinking.
Sometimes it’s not about you. We have to do it for those after us 🤷🏽♂️
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) June 10, 2023
Jacobs, a first-round draft pick by former Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock, had not received his fifth-year option during the final season break from then-new staff coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler . Jacobs gave the impression that he wanted to bring about change in a system that financially undervalued his position group. But at what cost? — Paul Gutierrez
What does this mean for the Giants and Raiders?
Barkley: The Giants need to sit back and hope that Barkley eventually signs the franchise title and plays this season. You bet on it. Their backcourt without him is led by Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell, with round five rookie Eric Gray also joining them. It wasn’t what they envisioned when putting this roster together.
General manager Joe Schoen said early in the offseason that using the franchise tag was always one of the possible options for Barkley. The Giants are perfectly fine going that route, and there never seemed much urgency to sign Barkley after quarterback Daniel Jones finalized his contract before the March deadline. That left the day for the star’s running back.
What the Giants are betting on now is that playing hard with the face of their franchise won’t shatter their locker room. Barkley is one of the most respected players in the squad. Fingers crossed this doesn’t result in a distraction large enough to derail their season. — Raanan
Jacobs: Jacobs’ productivity surprised McDaniels – the coach admitted he was used to using a ‘running back by committee’ approach rather than relying on an ‘every down back’. But while the coach stressed he’s excited for Jacobs’ return, there’s a reason the Raiders have made literally no moves in their RB room this season. No additions. No casualties. And all while retaining seven defenders – Zamir White, Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abdullah, Jakob Johnson, Brittain Brown, Sincere McCormick and Austin Walter.
Whistling at the graveyard? Maybe, but if Jacobs hangs on and misses a lot of time or even sits out the season, the Raiders feel they can lean on the continuity at the position and at least try to plug and play and run back from committee . But… the returning production leaves a lot to be desired. A much to be desired.
Consider this: White, Bolden and Abdullah had a combined 156 rushing yards and no touchdowns on 38 carries last season, averaging 4.1 yards per streak. Jacobs averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 340 rush attempts. whoops — approval rec
Are Barkley and/or Jacobs willing to waste time by not signing the tag? If so, how much time could they miss?
Barkley: It was announced last week that the first week against the Dallas Cowboys would be in jeopardy if a long-term contract were not finalized by the deadline. Well, as of the deadline, there’s no deal, meaning we probably won’t see Barkley until September at the earliest.
The opening game against Dallas will take place on September 10th. The bigger question now is whether he’ll be fully available for the opening game of the regular season or will he miss games to make it clear the offense badly needs him.
It’s clear that Barkley isn’t thrilled with the way this entire negotiation went, especially with numbers leaking everywhere. He thought many of them were cheating and portrayed him as “greedy.” There’s no way Barkley could show up for training camp and risk injury considering the team never came to the table with enough guaranteed money to take him into a giant for life. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts, as it goes against Barkley’s usual team-first rhetoric. — Raanan
Jacobs: No doubt Jacobs would sit out. See, he’s refused to sign the badge and has kept his word by staying away this offseason…even as the Raiders gave him a “solid performance” by changing his uniform number back to No. 8 of his college (he wore the number 28 of his). first four NFL seasons).
Again, how long he stays out would depend on how serious he is about proving his point while leaving money on the table. Pulling a page from Le’Veon Bell’s playbook would be the nuclear option, of course, but it could also be the only leverage the two-time Pro Bowler has going forward. — approval rec
What does every running back need to get a new deal?
Barkley: At this point it doesn’t matter. The time to close a deal is over. Now it’s time to sit back and see what happens this season before the two sides can even talk about a new deal. To make matters worse for Barkley, the team has another franchise tag that he can use again next year if they so choose.
It seems the only way for Barkley to get a new contract is if he plays so exceptionally well this season that the Giants feel they can’t afford to lose him under any circumstances. So far this has not been the case. He would probably need to top last season’s 1,300 yards and be an MVP candidate. Otherwise, it looks like the ship has already sailed on Barkley and the Giants are a thing forever. — Raanan
Jacobs: While Mark Davis is far from a meddlesome owner, it would have happened quickly if he wanted Jacobs back on a multi-year deal, which Jacobs felt was acceptable. Yes, Jacobs has a fan in Davis, but the window for a multi-year deal is closed as they couldn’t agree on terms by Monday.
“Josh is phenomenal, I think he was the heart of our team,” Davis said during this off-season. “He came to play every day. A tough, tough, tough guy. I’m really proud of him. If we had 22 Josh Jacobs.” [on the roster] He came by every day with that mentality… this guy is just amazing.”
Also, Jacobs’ mentor, Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, has Davis’ ear and has already advocated paying his ward, which of course now may not happen until after this season if any bad feelings are assuaged. The best choice for Jacobs on a multi-year deal with the Raiders would be another great season, but the team could choose to re-franchise him, leaving us in the same position 12 months from now. — approval rec
Who are the other running backs keeping an eye on the market and who might land new deals next year?
In the short term, free agent Dalvin Cook can use the three franchise-tagged running backs (including the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard) as contract comparisons for his eventual deal. He should sign some time before the regular season.
Jonathan Taylor, a free agent in 2024, was probably hoping that Barkley or Jacobs would surprise and strike a deal in time to expand his market. Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts have been in preliminary talks over a new deal, and Indy has a precedent for core contract renewals.
Young defensemen entering third-years, like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Najee Harris and the Denver Broncos’ Javonte Williams, could re-sign with their teams if they have a big season in 2023. And the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry is 29, a year away. He has no free rein and shows little sign of slowing down, though his 1,750 career streaks will someday catch up. — Jeremy Fowler