EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract extension by Monday’s deadline for franchised players, leaving the star running back with the option of playing for the tag-mandated $10.1 million salary or maybe taking the season off.

The Giants gave the franchise tag to the 26-year-old Barkley in March, giving the two sides four months to reach an agreement on a new deal by the July 17 deadline at 4 p.m. Talks went down to the wire and an agreement was not reached.

Barkley was not happy being tagged, especially after running for a career-best 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns and sharing the team lead with 57 receptions last season in what was his second Pro Bowl season. It was a big reason why New York reached the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The $10.1 million salary will leave Barkley among the NFL’s highest-paid running backs, but the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year felt it was a sign of disrespect after being one of the main faces of the franchise for the past five years.

San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey ($16 million) New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara $15 million) and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry ($12.5 million) and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ($12.2 million) are the top four earners among the NFL’s running backs in average annual salary. Dalvin Cook, who was to earn $12.6 million with Vikings, was cut in a salary cap move and Joe Mixon of Cincinnati recently took a cut to stay in Cincinnati.

Giants players report to training camp on July 25 and there is a chance Barkley, who has not signed the tender the Giants gave him after being franchised, may sit out a major part of the camp.


RAIDERS: Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, who led the NFL in rushing last season, failed to reach an agreement on a long-term extension by Monday’s deadline, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The failure of the two sides to reach a deal could prompt Jacob to sit out training camp and perhaps even this season. Jacobs doesn’t have anything to lose financially by missing camp, but he would be forfeiting paychecks by not playing games.

The Raiders placed the franchise tag on Jacobs on March 6, which means he would play on a $10.1 million deal this season if he returns to the team. The veterans report July 25, and training camp opens the following day.

Jacobs has been clear about his position all along, even saying at one point he would be a “hero turned villain” if forced to play under the tag.

He is the latest example of the changing climate for running backs, who have gone from a prominent position of being able to help lead teams to Super Bowls to an expendable spot where workhorse backs are less valued.

Though Jacobs led the league with 1,653 yards rushing, the Raiders went 6-11 last season.


STEELERS: Former All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell has alluded to feeling regret about leaving the team that drafted him amid a contract dispute in 2018, notably earlier this summer when he expressed a desire to retire with the team on a podcast. But he’d yet to fully acknowledge those feelings until this weekend, when he leveled with fans on social media.

“I never apologized to the fans for really sitting out,” Bell said in a video posted to his Snapchat story Saturday night. “Or leaving the Steelers. I never apologized. So I want to say, I apologize for leaving the best damn fans there is in this damn world. I shouldn’t have left. I apologize. I should never have left. I apologize. That’s my fault and that’s on me.”

The “sitting out” part of the apology refers to 2018, when Bell skipped the Steelers’ entire season rather than play under the franchise tag and expose himself to injury before hitting the free agent market.

At the time, he wanted more fully guaranteed money in extension talks. The Steelers instead stopped at offering virtual guarantees that Bell would have lost out on only if the Steelers cut him during the deal.

He signed with the New York Jets the following offseason, and his career was never the same as it was at its peak, when he was putting up massive yards from scrimmage as one of the league’s great runners and receivers out of the backfield.

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