Saquon Barkley signed a four-year, $31.2 million rookie deal with the New York Giants. This includes a $20.8 million dollar signing bonus, $15 million of which the Giants will pay immediately. This makes Barkley the fourth highest paid running back in the NFL, behind Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy. He is already making more money than All-Pros in their primes like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott.
Considering Barkley has yet to play a snap in the NFL and is currently participating in his first ever training camp practice, this is a bold leap of faith by New York. Barkley was the second overall pick in this year’s draft for a reason. However, because of the rigors of pro football compared to college, teams are generally unwilling to pay rookies high-end money. New York seems to believe that Barkley will make an instant impact out of the backfield. If so, he and a loaded receiving corps led by Odell Beckham Jr. could give the Giants a top-tier offense.
Running Back Market
In addition, the contract Saquon Barkley signed helps Le’Veon Bell’s efforts to open up the running back market. Bell, who turned down a deal from the Pittsburgh Steelers for $12 million-a-year with $33-million guaranteed, looks correct in his decision. If someone who has never played an NFL snap before can get over an average of $8 million a year, what could proven backs receive? David Johnson, set to make only 1.9 million in this final year of his contract, is getting ready to hold out for a new contract. Bell will probably be a free agent after this season and Todd Gurley after next season. All three of these guys are young and proven in the NFL. They have also established themselves to be the double-threat (running and receiving) weapons the Giants believe Saquon will be.
Because of the amount of talent and youth at the position, running backs will continue to get paid. Saquon Barkley’s deal allows his peers to put more money in their pockets and gives credibility to Bell’s controversial decision.
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