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Giants Sign Barkley to Lucrative Rookie Contract

The deal is finally done.

The New York Giants have come to terms with first-round pick Saquon Barkley to a four-year, $31.2 million contract. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report the deal on Sunday. Barkley’s contract is fully guaranteed, complete with a $20.76 million signing bonus, where $15 million will be paid out immediately. The remaining money will be given to the rookie by October.

Barkley’s Historic Deal

Barkley has yet to take an official NFL snap, and he is already one of the higher paid running backs in the league. In fact, he has the fourth-highest annual salary among those at his position at $7.8 million. He trails Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers ($14.5M), Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons (8.25M), and LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills ($8M).

Leading up to the NFL Draft, there were plenty of detractors who were against taking a running back with the second overall pick. Between those saying the running back position was “not valuable” and quarterback was a position of need, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, there is a set rookie salary scale, based on how high they were selected. In that case, a quarterback or defensive lineman would have gotten a similar contract as Barkley.

Off to Camp

Barkley and the Giants reached their agreement at the very start of training camp, where rookie attendance was mandatory. Giants fans were a bit nervous after going approximately three months without signing a deal. Now, Barkley is the first rookie in this year’s top five to sign his rookie contract. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Denzel Ward, and Bradley Chubb have yet to ink their first NFL deal.

The Giants have gone a long time without a premier running back. Barkley wowed team scouts with his impressive combine performance this past winter and his game film at Penn State. Now, he can alleviate the pressure off veteran signal caller Eli Manning, and to a lesser extent, the defense.  Add that to serving as a complement to Odell Beckham Jr and running behind a much improved offensive line, Barkley has the opportunity to thrive in New York.

With training camp kicking off this week, all eyes will be on the Giants’ new weapon on the offense. Fans can see the rookie in his first on-field action on August 9 in New York’s preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Barkley put the pen to paper, and he is now, officially, a New York Giant.

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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