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Giants Will Not Franchise Tag Saquon Barkley – RB Will Be Free Agent

After the decision last year to franchise tag RB Saquon Barkley in favor of paying QB Daniel Jones a long-term deal, the Giants are ready to let Barkley test free agency, avoiding a second-straight season under the tag.

After refusing to trade him at last years trade deadline, it seems both sides are still optimistic Barkley can remain in Giants blue. This, of course, comes shortly after the rumor that NFL Network’s Rich Eisen said he heard at the Combine in Indianapolis, that the Giants are “done with Daniel Jones” just a year after signing him to an extension.

All signs point to this being possibly the most critical offseason for both the Giants long-term and immediate future. Should they regret paying Daniel Jones over Barkley? That feels like a tough sell. Everyone is pretty adamant about not paying running backs in todays NFL, so I don’t blame the Giants for not caving and just giving Barkley whatever he wants.

However, despite winning a playoff game in 2022, Daniel Jones looked horrible in 2023 before tearing his ACL. “Buyers remorse” is never something you want to hear about any player, let alone the one who is supposed to be the franchise QB. Jones’ contract isn’t all bad, and if things continue to spiral after this season, they can cut him and eat a little over $22 million in dead cap, so there is an out.

Does a potential out with Jones open up the opportunity for the Giants to sign Saquon long-term? I’d say potentially. It’s no secret that Saquon Barkley is the best player on the Giants offense, and someone that teams game plan for. Without him, the Giants offense will probably be far worse than it was last season, if that’s possible (they were 29th in total offense).

If your plan is to cut Daniel Jones after this season regardless of performance, the Giants will probably look at drafting a rookie QB or finding a stop-gap QB for a year in free agency. Either way, that would free up a considerable amount of money to sign Barkley to a long-term deal. It probably isn’t the worst idea to have someone of his caliber of player in the backfield for a rookie, if that is the route they choose to take.

There is also the possibility the Giants use the sixth overall pick to draft a QB this year (which I would personally advise against). Suffice to say, GM Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brain Daboll have some difficult decisions ahead of them.


The Giants are also choosing to not place a franchise tag on Safety Xavier McKinney. This one is startling, because McKinney is a top safety in the league, he’s a captain, and was an iron man on defense, playing 100% of defensive snaps for big blue. If you’re not going to tag him, then who are you using the tag on? Why would you let McKinney and Saquon potentially walk out together for nothing? This feels like a problem, and I don’t agree with this decision. Running back is a delicate position to handle in terms of pay, but safety is not the same. They should at least tag McKinney, and I’m not the only one miffed by this:

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