Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs have big decisions to make as training camp approaches after failing to reach a new deal with the New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders respectively at Monday’s franchise tag extension deadline. .
Barkley and Jacobs are not expected to attend the start of training camp, and may not show up for weeks as the regular season approaches because they haven’t signed their $10.091 million franchise tag. There is a threat that they could hold out during the regular season, although they would be fined for catching up on the game they miss.
With that decision in the offing, several NFL running backs tweeted in reaction to two of the best in the game not getting the money they think they earned.
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It all started with a tweet suggesting that organizations should recruit runners, tag them once, and then repeat the process.
«This is the kind of crap that has artificially devalued one of the most important positions in the game,» tweeted Los Angeles Chargers starter Austin Ekeler, who dealt with his own contract drama this offseason.
«Everybody knows it’s hard to win without a top RB, and yet they act like we’re disposable gimmicks. I support any RB who does whatever it takes to get their bag.»
Ekeler and the Chargers have reached a temporary solution to their contractual doubts, adding $1.75 million in incentives to his contract for next season. Before that was done, he requested a trade.
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Joining Ekeler were Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry and Pittsburgh Steelers workhorse Najee Harris.
«At this point, just take the RB position out of the game then,» said Henry, who is entering the final year of his four-year, $50 million contract. «Those who want to be great and work as hard as they can to give their all to an organization, it seems like it doesn’t even matter. I stand with every RB who fights to get what they deserve.»
Added Harris: «I agree with my NFL running brothers, history will show you need running backs to win, we set the tone every game and run through [sic] walls for our team and lead in so many ways – this notion that we deserve less is a joke.»
It’s not just Barkley, Jacobs and Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, who did sign his franchise tag this offseason, who aren’t getting paid. Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette are among the top running backs still on the market right now with training camp looming.
The running back market has been devalued because teams have discovered that draft picks with rookie contracts have the knack for setting the tone, as Harris said, in the running game.
Isiah Pacheco of the Kansas City Chiefs was a seventh-round rookie last season who ended up starting for them in the Super Bowl in February. The Houston Texans also love what fourth-round pick Dameon Pierce brought to the table as a rookie last season, and he’s slated to start once again in 2023.
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However, like any position, there are elite brokers who want to be paid accordingly.
However, the last running back to sign a contract worth $10 million or more per season was Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns, who signed a three-year, $36.6 million contract with $20 million guaranteed in 2021.
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For Barkley and Jacobs, they are not allowed to discuss a multi-year deal. They are only allowed to discuss a one-year contract that is better than the $10.091 million tag.