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Saquon Barkley Rumors: Giants RB Seeking Christian McCaffrey-Like Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 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

Saquon Barkley is hoping to be one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL with his next contract, according to Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports.

"I continue to hear he wants near Christian McCaffrey's $16M average," Vacchiano reported.

McCaffrey has the largest annual salary at the position after signing a four-year, $64 million contract when he was with the Carolina Panthers. According to Vacchiano, the New York Giants offered Barkley a new contract worth $12 million annually but the two sides "weren't close in value."

Barkley had a $7.2 million cap hit for 2022 from his fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

Though Barkley will likely seek a significant raise in his next deal, he said Sunday he is "realistic" about the contract situation.

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

Barkley is coming off a big 2022 season where he rushed for 1,312 yards with 10 touchdowns, adding 57 catches for 338 yards. After being slowed down by injuries over the past few years, the 25-year-old played in 16 games this season and earned his second career Pro Bowl selection.

The all-around play was a reminder of the upside that he showed when winning Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, leading the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage that season.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen indicated his plans to retain Barkley on Monday.

"Saquon's a good player, a great teammate," Schoen said. "He's a guy we'd love to have back."

The money could be an issue, but the Giants will also have an opportunity to use the franchise tag. According to OverTheCap, the tag would cost $10.1 million for running backs next year.

The challenge will be keeping both Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones under team control with both set to become free agents this offseason.