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Saquon Barkley not stressing about signing Giants rookie contract

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley speaks

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley speaks to the media during Organized Team Activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday, June 4, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Odell Beckham Jr.’s contract is the main business story with the Giants right now, but there is another headlining player who is waiting to ink his name on a deal with the team. You haven’t noticed? That’s OK. Neither has he.

“I forgot I haven’t even signed that yet,” rookie running back Saquon Barkley told Newsday on Wednesday after the second of three minicamp practices. “I’m not really focusing on that right now. I’m just focused on having fun and playing football. The way I think about it when I was growing up I didn’t have a contract, I didn’t get money to play, so it doesn’t bother me not having a contract right now.”

As the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, it shouldn’t bother Barkley too much. Based on rookie projections, Barkley figures to get a four-year deal worth around $31.5 million, with about $21 million of it coming in a guaranteed signing bonus. According to the website Spotrac, that guaranteed contract will become the second-largest ever for a running back, behind only Adrian Peterson.

“To be honest, I kind of just said to my agent that I really don’t care, you just talk it out,” he said of conversations with Kim Miale of Roc Nation. “I think I have the best agent in the world and I know she and the Giants are going to get it done and whenever it’s ready for me to sign, I’ll sign.”

These days, almost everyone does. Ever since the introduction of the new CBA in 2011, rookie contracts have become fairly routine to the point that any player selected by any team at a given position in the draft will have a very good idea of what he’ll be getting. The substance of Barkley’s contract was essentially negotiated by the NFLPA seven summers ago, when he was getting ready to start high school. The details are the only things that need to be ironed out. Most of the first-round picks from this past draft have yet to put pen to paper, including eight of the first 10 overall selections.

Occasionally, though, there is a holdup. And even a holdout. Joey Bosa, the No. 3 overall pick by the Chargers in 2016, was the last big-time player to skip training camp over a contract dispute. He didn’t sign with the team until late August. The last Giants rookie holdout was Prince Amukamara in 2011.

With all the hand-wringing over Beckham’s presence and whether or not he’ll show up without a new deal, could there be similar concerns for Barkley?

Asked if he’ll report with the rest of the team for the start of training camp, the rookie said: “Oh yeah. I’ll be here no matter what.”

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