Saquon Barkley #26 of the Giants looks on during the...

Saquon Barkley #26 of the Giants looks on during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

For the first time in his career, Saquon Barkley is an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team.

On Tuesday, the Giants declined to use the franchise tag on Barkley for a second time. That move would have come with a price tag of $12.1 million.

It is believed, however, that Barkley and the Giants are still in contact and a deal between the parties remains possible.

Barkley has consistently said that he wants to be a Giant for the rest of his career.

Toward the end of the season, Barkley publicly asked the Giants to “shoot it to me straight” in terms of negotiating and in his standing with the team. It is believed that Barkley’s new agent and Giants general manager Joe Schoen have had constructive conversations, including at the NFL Combine last week.

The Giants are believed to want to retain Barkley, albeit at their price. Obviously, a new contract would have to be agreed upon for that to happen.

Asked at the recent NFL Combine about how Barkley’s value has changed since last year, Schoen said it has not.

“I wouldn't say his value has changed, especially in the organization,” Schoen said. “He’s a captain, he's a leader, he's a hard worker. I think the world of Saquon, and I still think he can play.

“So, my value for Saquon really hasn't changed. Unfortunately, throughout the process, starting back in November of 2022, we weren't able to come to an agreement in terms of where we both thought a deal made sense. So, we'll circle back again. He has a new agent, Ed Berry, who we have a really good relationship with, with CAA. Really good guy and does a great job. Look forward to sitting down and having conversations with him.”

Schoen added that everyone involved in the negotiations, himself included, has “grown” since the negotiations last year.

The Giants also had a decision to make regarding the future of safety Xavier McKinney, who is coming off a strong season in which he played every defensive snap. According to NFL Network, the Giants did not franchise McKinney, who will also hit the open market.

The Giants have until noon Monday to exercise an exclusive negotiating window with Barkley and McKinney. If, after that, they remain without deals, every team would then be permitted to contact the agents of prospective free agents and to negotiate.

Free agents can be signed by new teams beginning March 13.

More Giants


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months