Saquon Barkley will miss first Giants workouts in franchise-tag drama

Saquon Barkley showed where his heart is last week, accompanying Daniel Jones and several Giants teammates to Arizona for a few days of informal workouts during throwing sessions that included newly acquired tight end Darren Waller.

Barkley will show where his head is by staying away from the start of the Giants’ offseason workout program next week, which gets underway on Monday, The Post confirmed.

Barkley, as expected, has not yet signed his franchise-tag tender of $10.1 million, making him ineligible to participate in the voluntary team workouts.

For now, there is not much to see here.

Barkley, 26, wanted a multi-year deal and thus far has not received an offer he is willing to accept.

At the bye week in early November, the Giants came up with a multi-year deal averaging $12.5 million annually but Barkley turned it down.

The Giants increased their offer, slightly, after the season but no agreement was reached.

After the Giants signed Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract they immediately pivoted and put the franchise tag on Barkley — something he definitely did not want to see happen.

Saquon Barkley walks off the field after the Giants’ playoff loss to the Eagles.
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At that point, the multi-year offer was pulled from the table and any possible new deal will have to be re-negotiated.  

This development — Barkley not participating in the offseason workouts — is not surprising to the Giants. 

This exact scenario was broached to head coach Brian Daboll in late March at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.  

“I’ve been in this long enough; there’s a business side to it, there’s a playing side to it,’’ Daboll said at the time. “My focus is on today. Whatever situation comes up, we’ll handle it.’’

Saquon Barkley with Daniel Jones during a Giants game.
Saquon Barkley with Daniel Jones during a Giants game.

Barkley is coming off a career-high 1,312 rushing-yard season in 2022, staying healthy for every game for the first time since his 2018 rookie year.

The market for running backs during this free agency cycle was fairly dismal and the Giants have a line in the sand they will not cross when it comes to paying a player — even one they value greatly as a performer and leader — at that position.

Barkley can sign the tender at any time.

History shows that players often wait until the brink of training camp in the summer to sign their franchise tender.

Saquon Barkley with girlfriend Anna Congdon at the NFL Awards.
Saquon Barkley with girlfriend Anna Congdon at the NFL Awards.
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At $10.1 million, Barkley would be tied with Tony Pollard of the Cowboys and Josh Jacobs of the Raiders as the eighth-highest paid running back in the league, in terms of per-year salary.

The Giants can live with that money for Barkley for the 2023 season, as the need to create more salary cap space at this time of year is not as great as it was at the start of free agency.

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