NFL insider believes Saquon Barkley is more likely than Josh Jacobs to get new deal

Mike Battaglino
5 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs are rushing up to the deadline to get new contracts, and one NFL insider believes that Barkley is more likely than Jacobs to cash in with his current team.

Barkley of the New York Giants and Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders have both been given the franchise tag by their respective teams, and for running backs, that is worth a little under $10.1 million for the 2023 season.

The deadline for a franchise-tagged player to sign a long-term deal with his team is July 17, and if not, a long-term extension can’t be discussed again until after the regular season.

“Of the two, I’d rate Barkley the more likely to get a long-term deal done,” wrote Dan Graziano of ESPN. “Team owner John Mara has been clear about his desire for Barkley to be a Giant for his entire career, and the front office knows ownership would like a deal to get done. My very hesitant prediction is that the two sides come together on a contract that looks something like our outlined Option 1 before the deadline passes. The Giants probably will give a little bit on guarantees to a point where Barkley and his agent can claim a ‘win’ on something specific, such as structure or cash flow.


“I haven’t heard as much on the Jacobs situation, which could indicate that he’s less likely to get his deal. Obviously, a lot can change, and if one of these guys signs before the deadline, he’ll establish a framework the other one can use. Barkley getting a deal could make it more likely that Jacobs gets one, too. But [Josh] McDaniels has engaged in a lot of roster turnover since he got to Vegas, indicating that he didn’t love what was in place before he got there. I would not be at all surprised to see the Raiders go with Option 3 on Jacobs and do nothing.”

These players seem to have great value to their teams, with Jacobs, now 25 years old, having led the NFL in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage last season, and Barkley, now 26, ranking seventh in yards from scrimmage despite missing one game.

Graziano wrote that the first option for both teams is a “fair market deal,” which is difficult to ascertain because of the diminished value of running backs in the NFL contract landscape. He wrote that people he’s spoken to across the league estimate that would be a contract in line with what the Cleveland Browns gave Nick Chubb in 2021.

The third option, Graziano wrote, is to “do nothing,” which means the Giants and Raiders have Barkley and Jacobs play under the franchise tag this season and possibly tag them again next season. That could make this season very awkward for the running backs and the Giants and Raiders, respectively.

Contracts for young veteran running backs have become tricky for players and teams to navigate in recent years, with Dalvin Cook another example this offseason.

The Minnesota Vikings moved on from Cook primarily because of the money he was about to make this season, and in turn, the 27-year-old has not yet been able to find a new team despite four straight Pro Bowl appearances.

There also have been almost no reports of other teams being interested in Barkley or Jacobs, likely due in large part to the requirements of the franchise tag.

With NFL training camps set to begin soon, movement could be coming in the cases of Barkley and Jacobs, but perhaps without the results the players would like.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.