Saquon Barkley feels gone for the NY Giants after franchise tag decision arrives

Saquon is set to hit the open market

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

Goodbye No. 26? That's how things feel right now, as it looks like Saquon Barkley's playing days with the NY Giants are about to come to a close. With the franchise tag deadline arriving, Joe Schoen had a tough decision in front of him.

According to Ian Rapoport, though, the decision has been made that Barkley won't be placed on the tag for the second consecutive season. Because of this, the two-time Pro Bowler will hit the open market. While we want to believe that Barkley will return to East Rutherford, there isn't a lot of optimism there.

The NY Giants will not place the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley

This isn't a major surprise, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Barkley has spent the past six seasons with the Giants, being drafted No. 2 overall. Barkley posted a career-high 1,312 rushing yards in 2022 and followed that up with 962 yards in 2023.

Ultimately, though, injuries from previous seasons felt like they were getting in the way of Barkley and Schoen getting on the same page. This past campaign, Saquon missed three weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the win over the Cardinals.

When he was back on the field, however, he continuously proved his worth for the offense. With the franchise tag, it would have cost the Giants $12 million to keep Barkley on the roster for 2024, but the front office didn't want to make that kind of investment.

The Giants can still try and ink Barkley to a multi-year deal, but what gives anyone any hope that this will happen now? The chances are slim to none and teams, including the Ravens and Texans, are expected to reach out to Barkley as soon as they're allowed to. Barkley has meant so much to Giants Nation over the years, but the reality is we are all going to have to (likely) get used to seeing him make plays in a different uniform.