Those in the know continue to insist running back Saquon Barkley will play for the New York Giants this season with or without a long-term contract.
"He has no options, so he's not going anywhere," Fox Sports NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano noted about Barkley in a piece published Tuesday. "He's going to eventually sign his ($10.091M) franchise tag if he doesn't get a long-term contract, and it won't matter that he won't be happy about it. Barkley is a generally good guy and great teammate. He also knows that the best way for him to get the long-term contract he wants will be to earn it on the field."
Vacchiano shared a similar take last month after Barkley indicated he could remain away from the Giants through the regular-season opener if the two sides fail to come to terms on a deal before Monday's deadline for teams to sign franchise-tagged players. There reportedly is optimism the parties will work things out, but Vacchiano did say in June that "the Giants are content to let Barkley play out the season on the tag," if necessary.
It was reported earlier this spring that Barkley's camp rejected a multi-year contract that could've been worth around $14M per season, including incentives. More recently, former agent and current CBS Sports NFL contracts and salary cap expert Joel Corry predicted Barkley could receive roughly $27M guaranteed via a four-year deal if Giants general manager Joe Schoen presents the 26-year-old such an offer by the looming deadline.
"I believe they’ll come up with a deal before Monday," retired quarterback and current "The NFL Today" analyst Boomer Esiason said during Tuesday's edition of the WFAN morning show, per Ryan Chichester of Audacy. "I just feel like he’s gonna end up exhausting everything and is gonna have to take the money. Take the deal the Giants have on the table. I’ve heard it may possibly be up to $14M."
Somewhat interestingly, Vacchiano suggested in Tuesday's article that Schoen and company may look to get the most out of an angry Barkley before the sides revisit the situation next offseason.
"...They need (Barkley) strong and healthy and looking like a guy determined to score a big contract after the season if the Giants really are going to be a playoff team again," Vacchiano added.