Giants' Saquon Barkley Says He's Not 'Concerned' with Resetting Free-agent RB Market

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - JANUARY 15: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants rushes during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 15, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

New York Giants star Saquon Barkley could see a big raise this offseason as he enters free agency, but he doesn't expect to become the highest-paid paid running back.

"I'm not really too concerned with resetting the [RB] market," Barkley said Sunday, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN. "I'm realistic."

Barkley had a $7.2 million cap hit in 2022 from his fifth-year option on his rookie deal, but his new contract could put him closer to the highest-paid players at his position. Eight different running backs average at least $12 million per year on their current deals, per Spotrac.

It would still be difficult to reset the market with San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey averaging over $16 million on his record deal. Ezekiel Elliott has the highest total contract value after signing a six-year, $90 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

The running back market will be a key storyline of the offseason, with a long list of high-profile players available in free agency.

Field Yates @FieldYates

The 2023 free agent RB class is absolutely stacked, including:<br>- Josh Jacobs <br>- Saquon Barkley <br>- Miles Sanders<br>- Tony Pollard<br>- David Montgomery<br>- Kareem Hunt<br>- Jamaal Williams<br>- Damien Harris<br>- Jeff Wilson, Jr. <br>- Devin Singletary<br>- Raheem Mostert<br>- Rashaad Penny

Teams have been cautious about spending big at the position, but some players could be worth larger contracts.

Barkley enters free agency off a bounce-back season where he set a career high with 1,312 rushing yards. He added 338 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while earning his first Pro Bowl selection since his rookie year.

Most importantly, he stayed healthy and played in 16 games after making just 15 appearances over the previous two years combined.

The running back was a key part of the Giants' turnaround in 2022, improving from 4-13 to 9-7-1 plus a playoff win, and he's indicated his plans to remain with the team going forward.

"I've been vocal about how I feel and where I want to be," he told reporters Saturday. "I wanted to show the Giants that they guy they drafted is still here. Everyone knows I would love to be a Giant for life."