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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    The Giants are giving star running back Saquon Barkley the chance to test free agency

    New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26), in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during a game Dec. 25, 2023, moved another step closer to free agency Tuesday when the Giants elected not to put a franchise tag on the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. (Rich Schultz/AP File Photo)

    East Rutherford, N.J. — Star running back Saquon Barkley moved another step closer to free agency Tuesday when the New York Giants elected not to put a franchise tag on the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

    The Giants used the tag last season and eventually worked out a one-year, $10.1 million contract before the start of training camp. A franchise tag this year would have cost the team $12.2 million if Barkley accepted the offer.

    The 27-year-old Barkley, who is looking for a multi-year deal, and the Giants have until Wednesday to work out a deal. That's when free agency begins.

    Barkley played in 14 games last season, missing three because of a high ankle sprain. He ran for 962 yards and six touchdowns and had 41 catches, including four TDs.

    Since joining the Giants, Barkley has run for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns. The Penn State product also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 TDs.

    Barkley missed most of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL in the second week of the season. He struggled in 2021 but regained his form the following year, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in helping the Giants get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

    New York also did not put a franchise tag on safety Xavier McKinney, but he also has time to work out a new deal. The 24-year-old was the Giants' second-leading tackler last season, playing every down on defense. A franchise tag for a safety carried a $13.8 million tender offer on a one-year deal.

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