The New York Giants and franchise running back Saquon Barkley failed to reach a long-term contract extension before the NFL deadline on Monday.
Barkley is set to earn $10.091 million this season after the Giants played the non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
But Barkley says he has other options besides playing this season under what he views as an unfavorable contract.
“My leverage is I could say, ‘[screw] you’ to the Giants, I could say, ‘[screw] you to my teammates,'” Barkley said on The Money Matters podcast. “And be like, ‘You want me to show you my worth? You want me to show you how valuable I am to the team? I won’t show up. I won’t play a down.’ And that’s a play I could use.”
Barkley, however, admitted it’s a path he’s not inclined to take while also saying it’s something that could happen.
“Anybody [who] knows me, knows that’s not something I want to do,” Barkley said. “Is it something that’s crossed my mind? I never thought I would ever do that, but now I’m at a point where I’m like, ‘Jesus, I might have to take it to this level.’ Am I prepared to take it to this level? I don’t know.
Barkley will seek counsel with his family and advisors before making the decision.
“That’s something I have to sit down and talk to my family, talk to my team [of advisers] and strategize about this. Can’t just go off of emotions. I can try to get as much money as I can, but what really matters is winning. I know if I’m able to help bring a championship to New York, that’s going to go miles more ahead than this contract.”
If Barkley does decide to sit out this season, that would certainly be a blow to the Giants playoff hopes.