New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) takes the field at MetLife Stadium, Sunday, January 7, 2024. Credit: The Record

Saquon Barkley’s time as a member of the New York Giants could be coming to an end.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants won’t use their franchise tag on the star running back this offseason. As a result, Barkley will be an unrestricted free agent with the ability to sign with any other NFL team when the new league year begins on March 13.

While the possibility exists that New York could re-sign Barkley — Schefter also reported they will discuss a potential deal — this will mark the first time that the Penn State product has been an unrestricted free agent since the Giants selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. While Barkley had been scheduled to hit free agency last offseason, New York used its franchise tag to sign him to a one-year deal worth $10.09 million.

Had the Giants opted to use their franchise tag on Barkley for a second consecutive year, it would have cost them at least $12.1 million to keep him under contract for the 2024 season. According to the sports contracts website Spotrac, the 27-year-old projects to possess a market value of a three-year, $29.9 million contract.

Speaking to in January, Barkley acknowledged the possibility that he may have played his final game for the G-Men.

“Yeah, I mean it never crossed my mind until last year after I got tagged. Up until that moment, I really believe that I was gonna finish my career as a New York Giant. You know, that was a goal of mine. And that’s still in play. I have so much respect for the Mara family and the Tisch family and everyone in the Giants organization,” Barkley said.

“They know that but once you get to this point, you go to your contract negotiation and you go through the tag process, you realize how much of a business it is. And I remember vets always telling me this and you know I believed them, but you don’t really know something until you go through it. So could I see myself in another uniform? Yeah, it’s possible.”

[Adam Schefter on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.