Latest Saquon Barkley-Giants update isn't positive for fans who want him back

It's feeling more and more likely Saquon will be gone this offseason

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The NY Giants and the NFL's other 31 teams received great news on Friday when the league announced the 2024 salary cap will jump to $255.4 million. It's an unprecedented $30 million increase relative to last season, which means the Giants will have ample money to throw around in free agency.

Could this increase the odds of Saquon Barkley returning to East Rutherford? That would be an optimistic way to look at it, but a recent report from Fox Sports' Ralph Vacchiano doesn't bode well for the Giants fans who want Barkley back repping Big Blue.

Per Vacchiano, Barkley's 2023 season further convinced general manager Joe Schoen that running backs aren't worth a long-term investment. Despite the cap surge, Vacchiano understands the Giants will go cheaper at the position and won't increase the contract offer they made to Barkley last offseason.

That deal might even be off the table entirely.

It sounds increasingly likely that Saquon Barkley won't be back with the NY Giants

Vacchiano attributes the Giants' cutthroat thinking to Barkley's lackluster 2023. The star RB once again missed time with injury (three games) and averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry. His production as a pass-catcher dropped compared to 2022 as well.

"That's why the Giants are almost certain to allocate his cap space elsewhere and look for cheaper help at his position. They are not expected to use the franchise tag again, according to the source, especially now that it's bumped up to $12.1 million. And they're not expected to increase the contract offer he rejected last offseason — a deal that likely isn't on the table anymore, anyway."

Ralph Vacchiano

In the 14 games Barkley played, New York posted a 6-8 record. That obviously isn't solely Barkley's fault. Running backs can only influence winning so much. With a revolving door at quarterback and arguably the worst offensive line play in the NFL, it's no surprise Barkley posted low numbers.

Fair or not (definitely not), those extenuating circumstances can be used against Barkley at the negotiation table. That's the ugly business side of the NFL players and coaches always reference. Everyone understands Barkley is the best thing the Giants offense has going for it, but he's not a luxury this current iteration of the team can afford.

The salary cap surge might prove to benefit the capsized RB market, but don't expect Schoen to abandon his roster-building philosophy to keep a fan favorite like Barkley around for the long haul. Anything can happen in the NFL, but it looks increasingly likely that Barkley has played his final snap with the Giants.