Saquon Barkley knows where he’ll be playing football in 2023. The star running back will still be a member of the New York Giants, after Big Blue applied the franchise tag ahead of the deadline on Tuesday, March 7. He’ll now earn $10.091 million for the season, per Over The Cap.

That deal was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo:

Giants will place franchise tag on RB Saquon Barkley. (via @MikeGarafolo, @RapSheet)

— NFL (@NFL) March 7, 2023

The Giants acted quickly to beat the clock, following a report earlier in the day from ESPN’s Dianna Russini that talks between the team and Barkley had “stalled.” Her colleague Jordan Raanan still believes it’s likely the Giants will eventually agree terms to keep Barkley for longer:

Wouldn’t be surprised to see a long-term deal for Saquon Barkley follow relatively soon. Before the start of free agency.

— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) March 7, 2023

Keeping Barkley out of 2023 NFL free agency, at least for the short term, is a major coup for the Giants. The future of quarterback Daniel Jones has dominated the agenda, but Rapoport reported the player drafted sixth overall in 2019 agreed a four-year contract on Tuesday, a deal worth $160 million with $35 million in incentives.

Jones got the bumper payday because he plays football’s most important position, but Barkley is the Giants’ legitimate marquee player on offense. Running backs aren’t valued anywhere near as much as quarterbacks in today’s NFL, but Barkley now has the motivation to prove himself all over again on a one-year deal.

It could lead to a career year from a truly dynamic playmaker who can maximize his value ahead of perhaps getting to test the market a year from now.

Giants’ Best Weapon Primed for Monster Year

Barkley merits faith from the Giants after posting career-best marks for carries (295) and rushing yards (1,312) during head coach Brian Daboll’s first season in charge. No. 26 also tied for the team lead with 57 receptions.

Numbers from Pro Football Focus show how effectively Barkley bounced back from some injury-hit years to rejoin the ranks of the elite at his position:

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Giants Make Saquon Barkley Contract Decision

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