No offers for tagged RBs Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard

ESPNJul 17, 2023, 04:01 PM ET5 minutes of reading

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Monday’s deadline for franchise players to accept long-term contracts passed without deals New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard.

The three running backs were the only players to receive the franchise tag who had not reached a long-term contract, and they had until 4 PM ET Monday to get one. They will now play the 2023 season on their franchise tender worth $10.09 million for running backs. Pollard has already signed his tender. However, Barkley and Jacobs remain unsigned and stayed away from their teams’ offseason programs.

“It is what it is,” Barkley tweeted Monday.

Because they are unsigned, Barkley and Jacobs cannot be fined for not participating in training camp, which begins for veterans on both the Giants and Raiders on July 25. Barkley and Jacobs are not expected to attend training camp with the rest of his team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday. The two unsigned stars would only lose money if they miss regular season games and lose game checks.

The Giants’ contract negotiations with Barkley did not get off to a smooth start. The Giants made an initial offer during the bye week last November that Barkley never seriously considered, multiple sources told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. The two sides then entered into negotiations until the post-season.

The Giants’ offer for Barkley increased earlier this year, reaching a point where the deal could max out at $14 million per season, sources told Raanan. But the sticking point was guaranteed money and structure. They never came close to his satisfaction.

When the Giants signed quarterback Daniel Jones minutes before the start of the new league year, they immediately used the franchise tag on Barkley. This was always one of the options, according to general manager Joe Schoen. At the time, the Giants took their last offer off the table, and talks didn’t really pick up until recently.

Barkley admitted that this opened his eyes to the fact that this is a business. However, he disliked the brand and how the entire process was portrayed publicly, making it known on several occasions that the offers were not always what they were perceived to be.

“I get tagged, was I upset? Nobody wants to get tagged,” Barkley said last month. “To sit here and say I was frustrated, I was angry, I was upset, what really upset me were the stories that were leaked, how misleading they were and how untrue they was. I feel like it was trying to paint a narrative of me, a picture of me, that’s not even true. Not even close to being the truth.”

Barkley’s contention throughout was the way the money was perceived made him look greedy. The Giants had never offered anywhere near the desired $22.2 million (the combined amount of franchise tags this year and next year) as of late last week, a source told Raanan.

Barkley, 26, finished fourth in the NFL with 1,312 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns last season. The 1,312 yards were a career high. He was also tied for the team leader with 57 receptions. He has played in 60 career games over five seasons since being drafted No. 2 overall. He has 4,249 rushing yards, 37 total touchdowns and was named the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The Raiders had presented Jacobs with a deal, and he chose not to accept it because he wanted a bigger payday, Schefter reported Monday.

Jacobs, a first-round pick of the Raiders in 2019 when Jon Gruden was the Raiders coach and Mike Mayock was the general manager, did not have his fifth-year option picked up last spring by the incoming staff of coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler.

Jacobs, 25, surprisingly played in the Raiders’ preseason opener, leading to rumors that he was a trade candidate. Instead, he responded with a career season in which he led the NFL in rushing yards (1,653) and yards from scrimmage (2,053), while scoring a career-high 12 touchdowns and catching 53 passes. His 86-yard walk-off TD in Seattle was the longest run in the NFL last season. He became the first Raiders player to lead the league in rushing since Marcus Allen in his 1985 MVP season.

Jacobs’ production surprised McDaniels, who acknowledged he was used to a running back-by-committee approach in his offensive system. After the season, Jacobs insisted he would return to Las Vegas, but added, “It has to make sense.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis said Jacobs was “the heart of our team” at the NFL’s annual meeting in March. Jacobs, meanwhile, was essentially silent throughout the process, save for a few cryptic tweets.

“Sometimes it’s not about you,” he tweeted in June, giving the impression he wanted to change to a system that financially undervalues ​​the running back position. “We have to do it for them after us.”

The last time a running back signed a long-term contract worth $10 million or more per season, was Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb in 2021 – 716 days ago.

Pollard, 26, will take over the lead running back role this season for the Cowboys after the team released longtime starter Ezekiel Elliott earlier this season. He said in May that he expects to be fully ready to practice in training camp after undergoing surgery to repair an ankle injury suffered in Dallas’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers in January.

Two days after the playoff loss, Pollard underwent a “tightrope” procedure in lieu of surgery that required screws in the tibia and fibula for a repair. In this procedure, a braided polyethylene cord is applied instead of a rigid surgical screw to restore the original position of the bones and allow for proper healing. He also suffered a broken fibula, which has healed.

Pollard was named to the Pro Bowl after rushing for a career-high 1,007 yards on 193 carries with nine rushing touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns. Before last season, he had never had more than 130 carries or 719 rushing yards in a season.

ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and Todd Archer contributed to this report.

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