Saquon Barkley must learn from Le'Veon Bell and not make the same mistake

NFC Divisional Playoffs - New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
NFC Divisional Playoffs - New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

We are now nearing the month of June and the New York Giants and running back Saquon Bakley have still not come to an agreement on a long-term deal. It has gotten so bad that Barkley, who is coming off a career year for the Giants after finishing in the top four in rushing, hasn't been present at OTAs in East Rutherford.

It was reported that he turned down a deal worth around $14 million per season (with incentives), as Barkley thinks he deserves to be paid as one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL. However, Barkley must be careful going through these negotiations.

Take a look at Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers for example. This is the last kind of avenue that Barkley should think about going down.

Saquon Barkley must learn from Le'Veon Bell's mistakes

If you remember back in 2018, Bell held out during all of the Steelers offseason program and training camp as he was looking to get a huge contract. That previous regular season, he rushed for almost 1,300 rushing yards. Bell, at the time, was one of the best RBs in the game.

Not only did he hold out during training camp, but he sat out the entire 2018 regular season after the team placed the franchise tag on him. And now Bell is saying he regretted what he did, even calling himself petty.

In an interview with Pro Football Talk, Bell talked about how he indeed acted petty during that time period in how he handled the contract situation in Pittsburgh and how he hated how his time with the Steelers ended the way it did. And now as most know, he never found the same success he had with the Steelers when he went to the Jets and other teams.

Barkley should see these comments that Bell made and realize that he can't make this same mistake and have his legacy as a Giant end the way Bell's legacy ended as a Steeler. Barkley himself is one of the best RBs in today's game.

Saquon is a great running back, don't get me wrong, but the amount of money he's reportedly requesting is not what he deserves. He is 26 years old and paying a running back a ton of money and for many years is a gamble. Plus, the 2022 campaign was his first 1,000-yard season since his second year in the league in 2019 and he had a combined 627 yards in two seasons prior to his breakout 2022 campaign.

Barkley needs to be careful in playing this contract negotiation game with the Giants because it could come back to bite him in the end. Does he deserve a new deal? Of course he does, but not north of the $14 million he reportedly wants. He and Schoen must find a way to get on the same page.

READ MORE: Mike Kafka gives eye-opening take on TE Darren Waller