Saquon Barkley

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

Giants Pick Up RB Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option

As we all expected, Saquon Barkley will be sticking around New York through at least the 2022 season. The Giants have picked up the star running back’s fifth-year option, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

[RELATED: 2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Barkley will earn a guaranteed base salary of $7.217MM during that 2022 campaign. As things currently stand, Barkley would have the ninth-highest cap hit at his position that season.

Considering the modest salary, it’s hardly a surprise that the Giants have made this move. Since he was selected with the second-overall pick in the 2018 draft, Barkley has establish himself as one of the top running backs in the NFL. He had a historic rookie campaign where he compiled 2,028 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns in 16 games. He had an equally impressive 5.4 yards per touch in 2019, but he missed three games thanks to a high ankle sprain.

Most of us are familiar with Barkley’s 2020 campaign. The 24-year-old only saw time in two games before succumbing to a torn ACL. The injury ultimately ended his season, although Schefter reported earlier today that the running back is on track to be ready for the start of the 2021 season. Considering the short shelf life of running backs, it’s a good sign that Barkley is seemingly recovering well from the injury.

Following the recent trend of teams dumping first-round running backs following their rookie contracts, there have been some questions about whether Barkley would stick around New York long term. While Giants owner John Mara previously stated that the organization wasn’t in any rush to extend the Pro Bowler, he also made it clear that he wants Barkley to stick around New York.

“We’re not in any hurry to do that,” Mara said at the time. “We fully expect him to be as good as new. … We hope he’s going to be a Giant for life. At the appropriate time, we’ll start those discussions.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants “Not In Any Hurry” To Extend RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants have eagerly dished out cash this offseason, but that doesn’t mean Saquon Barkley will benefit from the spending spree. Speaking to reporters, Giants owner John Mara said an extension for the running back isn’t coming any time soon.

[RELATED: Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option]

“We’re not in any hurry to do that,” Mara said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “We fully expect him to be as good as new. … We hope he’s going to be a Giant for life. At the appropriate time, we’ll start those discussions.”

The former second-overall pick quickly established himself as one of the top running backs in the league, averaging 1,734.5 yards from scrimmage and 11.5 touchdowns per season through his first two years in the NFL. However, after missing a handful of games in 2019, Barkley was limited to only two games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.

The 24-year-old is about to enter the final year of his four-year rookie contract, but he has an affordable fifth-year option that’s valued at only $7.2MM. Barkley is also eligible to sign an extension after having spent three years in the league. Despite the modest fifth-year salary, it isn’t guaranteed that the running back has his option picked up. Earlier this month, GM Dave Gettleman didn’t seem to commit one way or the other, hinting that health could be a concern.

The Giants may be dragging their feet with the fifth-year option (and the subsequent extension), but Mara still made it clear that he wants Barkley to spend the rest of his career in New York. This Giants are likely doing their due diligence before committing to any future deals with the star running back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Giants Undecided On Saquon Barkley’s Fifth-Year Option

When healthy, Saquon Barkley is one of the NFL’s premier skill-position players. But the former No. 2 overall pick is coming off a season in which he suffered a torn ACL in Week 2. The Giants are factoring that into a key decision.

GM Dave Gettleman, who bypassed the team’s need for an Eli Manning successor by taking Barkley over the likes of Sam Darnold and Josh Allen three years ago, indicated team brass had yet to come to a final decision on the running back’s fifth-year option.

I think [his health] part of the discussion,” Gettleman said, via SNY. “Obviously we’re gonna have to make a decision this spring whether we pick up his fifth-year option. But certainly, it’s unknown, and what you have to do is get your trainer and your doctors involved.

Barkley’s draft class will be the first group of first-rounders eligible for fully guaranteed fifth-year options, which the new CBA mandates. Previous classes eligible for the option had their fifth-year salaries guaranteed for injury only, which allowed teams to cut bait ahead of Year 5 as long as the player passed a physical. That will not be an option going forward; the Giants have until May 3 to exercise Barkley’s option.

Barkley delivered historic rookie-year production in 2018 but suffered a high ankle sprain in 2019 and missed 14 games last season. While he is progressing well from the torn ACL, the Penn State product’s outlook is a bit less certain than it once was. New York not picking up Barkley’s option would make 2021 a contract year for Barkley. The team picked up Evan Engram‘s non-guaranteed option last year, and Engram has battled nagging injuries for much of his run. That points to the Giants picking up Barkley’s.

The option price is not yet known, since the new CBA introduced a multitiered setup that will involve to-be-determined franchise and transition tag costs. Barkley having made one Pro Bowl would make his option price equal to that of the running back transition tag. Kenyan Drake‘s transition tag came in at $8.5MM last year; anything in that neighborhood would be a bargain for the Giants, even with Barkley’s ACL rehab clouding his outlook slightly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: McCarthy, Eagles, Barkley

The Cowboys have spent this week clearing out some 2020 acquisitions, trading Everson Griffen and cutting Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley. Mike McCarthy does not currently have to worry about being a one-and-done coach. Jerry Jones expressed support for his 2020 HC hire, despite the team’s disappointing start.

One of the, without a question, reasons Mike McCarthy is the coach is because he’s been through it,” Jones said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (via the Dallas Morning News). “… Certainly, we couldn’t have anticipated being at this stage with our team this year. But if I were going to hire for a head coach, that we’re going to be at this stage this year and work through this for the betterment of what’s in store for us for the rest of the year and for what’s for us in the future, I got my man.”

McCarthy has kept Kellen Moore as his play-caller and hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. While the Cowboys’ offense was surging with Dak Prescott, it has cratered without him. Dallas’ defense ranks 30th in DVOA. Jones retained Jason Garrett for nearly 10 full seasons and has given all but one coach (Chan Gailey) at least three full seasons. Considering McCarthy’s Super Bowl-winning pedigree, it would be shocking if Jones ousts him after one season.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles are currently down four offensive linemen, each of their three top receivers, their top two tight ends and Miles Sanders. But they are, despite being 2-4-1, in first place in the NFC East. A Jay Glazer report prior to the Eagles’ Week 7 win indicated they told teams they would listen to offers for their best players, but ex-Eagles president Joe Banner said (via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Paul Domowitch) Philly is interested in acquiring offensive line and linebacker help. The Eagles have been buyers in trades for years, and Ertz’s ankle injury halted trade talks. Despite the Eagles projected to be nearly $70MM over the 2021 cap, they may again be ready to acquire veterans.
  • On the subject of Eagles veterans, the news is not good for DeSean Jackson. Calling it a similar injury to Dallas Goedert‘s,’s Mike Garafolo said Jackson suffered a non-displaced ankle fracture and is expected to miss between six and eight weeks (video link). The 33-year-old deep threat has missed 16 games since returning to Philadelphia and looms as a near-certain 2021 cap cut, but Garafolo adds D-Jax does not intend to retire after this season.
  • Saquon Barkley‘s ACL reconstructive surgery is set for Thursday, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Interestingly, the World Series delayed the Giants running back’s procedure. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the operation, but since he is also the Dodgers’ team doctor, he was in the final MLB bubble and off-limits until the Series’ conclusion, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. No word has emerged regarding if Barkley’s surgery will need to be further tabled because of Justin Turner’s positive COVID-19 test. Barkley suffered the injury Sept. 20. Despite this delay, doctors are hopeful he will be ready for training camp,’s Andrea Kremer tweets.
  • Washington first-year HC Ron Rivera finished up his chemotherapy and proton therapy treatments Monday. While he still has follow-up appointments on tap, per’s John Keim, this marks a major development in the veteran coach’s recovery from lymph node cancer.

Giants’ Saquon Barkley Tears ACL

The Giants’ fears have been confirmed. On Monday morning, the club announced that star Saquon Barkley has suffered a torn ACL. The running back will be formally placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season after just two games. 

The severity of Barkley’s knee injury was readily apparent when he was forced out early from Sunday’s game against the Bears. After an MRI of his right knee at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the former No. 2 overall pick now knows that he’ll be headed to the operating table. After that, Barkley will begin his road to recovery with an eye on 100% health to open the 2021 season.

Barkley was hampered by an ankle issue last year that limited him to only 13 games and had him hobbled in several others. In his full 16-game season as a rookie in 2018, the Penn State product notched 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also added another 721 and four through the air while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. That was the kind of season that the Giants and Barkley were banking on.

Now 0-2 after falling to the Steelers and Bears, the Giants are left with Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman as their backfield leaders. Both players profile as capable backups — and Gallman has impressed on the practice field — but the Giants are still expected to scour the market for alternatives. There aren’t a ton of high-end free agent options at this stage of the season, but the trade market could provide the Giants with some opportunities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Fear RB Saquon Barkley Has Torn ACL

Absolutely devastating news for the Giants, as it appears Saquon Barkley will be done for the year. New York fears their young running back has torn his ACL, sources told Adam Schefter of (Twitter link).

Schefter adds that official confirmation won’t come until Monday, but since field tests for ACLs are extremely accurate, it’s all but certain. Barkley was completely bottled up in the Giants’ Week 1 loss to the Steelers, and went down early in their game against the Bears. The Penn State product hasn’t always had a ton of room to run behind New York’s patchwork offensive line, but he’s still managed to be electric during his first couple of years in the league.

The second overall pick of the 2018 draft, Barkley quickly became one of the most recognizable faces in the NFL, and this is a huge loss. Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman are next up at running back for the G-Men, although it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they went out and added a veteran in the wake of this injury.

Barkley was hampered by an ankle issue last year that limited him to only 13 games and had him hobbled in several others. In his only 16-game season as a rookie he had 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, adding another 721 and four through the air while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

The Giants are now 0-2 on the year, and will be missing the heart of their offense moving forward. It certainly won’t help Jason Garrett’s first year as offensive coordinator, and Daniel Jones will now be without his safety blanket. Here’s to hoping Barkley makes a full recovery in plenty of time for the 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Barkley, 49ers, Lockett

The Giants may be a long shot to make the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to shut down their star players. When asked if the team would rest running back Saquon Barkley, head coach Pat Shurmur responded with an emphatic “absolutely not” (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

Shurmur had previously acknowledged that Barkley was a bit banged up, and that was evident after the running back compiled a single rushing yard on 13 carries during the Giants’ loss to the Jets on Sunday. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that Barkley had an X-ray on his shoulder after the game. There was some thought that the 22-year-old was suffering from an ankle or leg injury, but Barkley acknowledged that his legs are still feeling good.

The Giants and Barkley will look to get back on track when they return from their bye week. The team will visit the Bears on November 24th.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • We’ve got some updates on key 49ers skill players. ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes (on Twitter) that wideout Emmanuel Sanders‘s s-rays for a rib injury were inconclusive. The veteran was set to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the “damage.” Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that running back Matt Breida will get a second opinion on his sprained ankle. While the injury isn’t thought to be serious, Breida may still be sidelined for several games.
  • Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett was at the hospital last night getting treatment for a leg contusion, but Darin Gantt of passes along that the receiver is alright. Coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN that the bruise caused a “pretty severe situation” thanks to the subsequent swelling, and Lockett didn’t return with the team to Seattle. The 27-year-old is having another productive season, hauling in 62 receptions for 793 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Some good news out of Indy: Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters that wideout Devin Funchess should return to practice this week. “Technically, he could be cleared to play the game,” Reich said (via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star). “But he’s got a few more boxes to check. We have to make sure he’s good to go because this will really be his first week of practice. Then we still have to see how much he’ll be able to do Wednesday. We’re really encouraged. I think there’s another box he has to check before we can go full boar on the practice.” Funchess landed on the IR after breaking his collarbone during the season opener.
  • Bengals tight end Drew Sample suffered a high ankle sprain this past weekend, reports’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 2019 second-rounder will undergo additional tests to determine how much time he’ll miss, but Rapoport notes that he’s a candidate for the injured reserve. The rookie has hauled in five catches for 30 yards in nine games (two starts) this season.

Extra Points: Vinatieri, Callaway, Barkley

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has struggled mightily this season, and those struggles continued on Sunday. Vinatieri missed a crucial extra point, and the team ended up losing to the Dolphins by four points. Indy ended the game on Miami’s 16-yard line, and would’ve been able to attempt a game-tying field goal if not for Vinatieri’s miss. The organization has stuck by him throughout, but there were signs after the game that their patience might be wearing thin. “We’d been committed to him, but like everybody. … we’re going to always evaluate. Everyone gets measured, everyone’s held accountable. From top to bottom, that’s always the case. Nothing meant to read into that, that’s just the reality,” head coach Frank Reich said, per Joel A. Erickson of The Athletic (Twitter link).

On extra points, Reich said “there is an expectation there. Whatever percent it is to make an extra point, 97 percent, or 96.whatever it is to make that, we need to make those,” Erickson noted in a separate tweet. Vinatieri has now missed six extra points and five field goals on the year. It’s certainly not for sure, but the Colts appear to be inching closer to a divorce with the legendary 46-year-old kicker.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Browns receiver Antonio Callaway was a healthy scratch during Cleveland’s win over the Bills, and it appears there could be something interesting here. Callaway warmed up in uniform as if he was about to play, but then wound up inactive. When asked about it after the game Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said it “was between him and Callaway and repeated the response when asked if it was a disciplinary matter,” according to Josh Alper of Alper notes that Baker Mayfield said Callaway was in the game plan during the week, but that “things happen.” Since it’s the Browns, it will probably turn out to be something of note.
  • The Giants suffered a tough loss to the Jets on Sunday, and things might get even worse. Star running back Saquon Barkley was spotted getting X-Rays after the game, according to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. Head coach Pat Shurmur conceded Barkley got “banged around pretty good,” but neither the coach nor player was willing to talk about what was wrong. Barkley, of course, just recently returned after missing time with an ankle injury.
  • In case you missed it, some in the Browns organization wanted to hire Kevin Stefanski instead of Freddie Kitchens.