Injuries derailed his NFL career’s scorching start, but he’s back with a vengeance and ready to earn a big extension — let’s dive into the details of the Giants’ rookie scale Saquon Barkley contract.
Saquon Barkley is motivated by a desire to become one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. While the rest of the world is busy staring at his massive quads, Barkley is running full speed at this season’s rushing title — and a lucrative contract extension upon his first-ever free agency next spring.
After a legendary collegiate career at Penn State, the New York Giants selected Barkley second in the 2018 draft. Walking into the league with high expectations, his position in the draft signified generational talent and entitled him to a four-year, $31,194,751 rookie contract, plus a fifth-year team option worth another $7.2 million in 2022. To put it into perspective, reports at the time suggested that the Cleveland Browns were “strongly considering” drafting Saquon with their first overall pick; the last running back to go No. 1 was Ki-Jana Carter all the way back in 1995.
The PSU standout hit the ground running at the Meadowlands, rushing for back-to-back thousand-yard seasons in his first two years as a pro. However, injuries plagued the runner in the 2019 and 2020 NFL seasons, and as he was forcibly sidelined, it was worth wondering whether the super-talented back would be able to return with the same speed, strength, and route-running ability.
If you’ve watched him in this contract year of his, you know the answer to that question is yes.
With that in mind, let’s dig into the details of the Giants’ rookie scale Saquon Barkley contract as it enters its final months.
Saquon Barkley Contract Details & Salary
Salary data via Spotrac
- Years: 5 (including team option)
- Total value: $38,601,750
- Guaranteed at signing: $31,194,751
- Free Agency: 2023
This year, Barkley’s $7.217 million salary actually makes him the No. 8 highest-paid running back by total cash compensation despite his deal being at rookie scale — but his dynamic talent surely commands a big bag in free agency despite the market for running backs being so seriously undervalued. Other running backs likewise hitting the open market at the end of the year include Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, and Mark Ingram, but Saquon is far and away the top prize.
As it stands, the Titans‘ Derrick Henry is the highest-paid NFL running back by 2022 salary ($14 million), Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey makes the most based on average annual contract value ($16.015 million), and the Cowboys‘ Ezekiel Elliott has the biggest overall contract by total value ($90 million over six years).
As long as Barkley stays healthy, he stands a chance to threaten one or more of those impressive figures.
Saquon Barkley’s Career Earnings
CAREER BASE SALARY EARNINGS: $11,194,943
CAREER SIGNING BONUSES: $20,767,092
OTHER BONUSES & INCENTIVES: $6,639,715
TOTAL NFL SALARY EARNINGS THRU 2022 SEASON: $38,601,750
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