Saquon Barkley’s extension talks with the New York Giants have officially ended. His only remaining options range from playing the season on the franchise’s $10.1 million mark to the nuclear option.
In this case, the nuclear option would be to refuse to sign the franchise tag and refuse to play the season, much as Le’Veon Bell did back in 2018 when the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tag him for the second time.
Notoriously, that didn’t work out too well for Bell, who has since admitted he regrets the decision, but Barkley noted in an interview on “The Money Matters” podcast. Posted Monday He was thinking about it.
He didn’t seem enthusiastic about the idea, but said it was something he might have to do:
“My leverage is that I can say, ‘F*** you’ to the Giants, I can say, ‘F*** you’ to my teammates. And be like, ‘You want me to show you my worth?'” You want me to show you how much I do for the team? I won’t come. And this is a play I can use.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that’s not something I want to do. But is that something I’ve ever crossed my mind? I never thought I’d ever do that, but now I’m at a point where it’s like, ‘Jesus, I might have to go to that level.'” Am I ready to take it to the level? I don’t know. This is something I have to sit down and talk to my family, I have to sit down and talk to my team. I have to really strategize about this. I can’t get out of emotions.”
Barkley isn’t the only one returning to the position, as the Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs is also facing a season played to the franchise mark after leading the NFL in rushing yards last season.
Barkley and Jacobs could conceivably get out of training camp before they report for the regular season. They can also refuse to sign the card as the season begins, which will cost them About $561,000 per game. They would have to sign by the November franchise tender deadline or miss the entire season, as Bell did.
A group of high profile contestants don’t like what they see. It’s a situation that has been simmering for years and now appears to have reached a boiling point as frontrunners struggle to expand their market while every other center seems to be signing record deals, with no solutions on hand until the next CBA negotiation.
In Bell’s case, he spent the entire season, at which point the Steelers refused to tag him, allowing him to sign with the New York Jets to a four-year, $52.5 million contract with a $35 million guarantee. On a related note, there’s no NFL dip with more than $35 million fully guaranteed, per OvertheCap.
The Jets released the buzzer after a season and a half.
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