In an unexpected twist, the New York Giants took the unusual step of retracting their previous contract offer to star running back Saquon Barkley after employing the non-exclusive franchise tag to retain his services, leaving both fans and experts perplexed.

Renowned former sports agent and current CBS Sports NFL contracts and salary cap expert, Joel Corry, expressed his surprise during a captivating appearance on the “Valentine’s Views” podcast.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Corry highlighted that it is customary for discussions to remain active even after an offer is presented, making the Giants’ decision to withdraw the offer a significant departure from the norm. He noted, “Pulling the offer raised eyebrows to me. That’s an unusual step…that would send a message to me if I’m the player that this is going to be a truly tough negotiation.”

Reports have indicated that Barkley’s representatives turned down a multi-year deal earlier in the offseason, which would have secured him an average of around $13 million per season, with the potential to increase to $14 million through incentives.

However, following the utilization of the franchise tag on March 7, Giants General Manager Joe Schoen removed all previous offers from the negotiating table. Notably, Barkley has yet to sign the tag.

With the Giants and Barkley having until July 17 to strike a long-term agreement, Corry suggested that if negotiations continue to be contentious and Barkley feels disrespected, fans should expect him to play on the $10.091 million franchise tender for the 2023 season. Corry opined, “Them pulling the offer to me signals we’re fine if you play on the tag, and it’s going to be a deal of our liking as opposed to us really trying to bridge the differences from where we were.”

Nevertheless, Corry remained optimistic about an eventual resolution, speculating that the Giants and Barkley might reach a deal “close to the deadline.” He envisioned a three-to-four-year contract with only the first two years fully guaranteed.

Schoen’s recent statement emphasizing the importance of an agreement where both parties are content hints that Barkley may need to reconsider his asking price if he wishes to surpass the financial security provided by the franchise tag.

As the negotiations continue to unfold, fans eagerly await the outcome of this unpredictable saga, hoping for a resolution that satisfies both the Giants and their star running back.