New York Giants
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Saquon Barkley should hold out until he gets his

Saquon Barkley’s tweet “It is what it is” may be the best tweet in the history of Twitter. It may be the second-best quote of an athlete or coach in the history of New York sports with Bill Parcells saying “You are what your record says it is” being the best of all time.

The Giants running back tweeted six minutes before the deadline for the team and him to reach an agreement on a new contract. He either has to play this season on the franchise tag of $10 million or sit out the season. Right now, he is going to hold out in training camp, and he may sit out the season.

No one should be surprised this happened. There was no way he was going to play under his current deal, and he shouldn’t after the Giants undervalued his contributions last season. The Giants did not want to bid against themselves on a running back since the running game is getting phased out more and more in the NFL.

Good for Barkley and the Giants for standing their ground on this. He shouldn’t sell himself short, and the Giants have to run like a business.

But here’s hoping the 2018 No. 2 overall draft pick holds out until he gets what he deserves. He should be paid as one of the top running backs in the league, not what the market says he’s worth. He should stand for principle. This is more than just him settling for the tag this season.

This is a matter of respect more than anything. If the Giants can overpay Daniel Jones for a new deal, they can do the same for Barkley. As improved as Jones was this season, he is still not an elite quarterback, but he is being paid like one because of his potential and the team’s investment in him.

Shoot, I am not sure how much impact Jones made on the Giants this past season. Sure he played great against the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card game, but then again, any quarterback would have done the same since that team didn’t play defense all season. When he played against the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional playoff game, he got exposed as the anti-Patrick Mahomes.

It was Barkley that came through in big spots that made the Giants a playoff team, not Jones. It’s understandable why the Giants running back would be bothered that the team would rather pay for a quarterback with potential than a proven running back.

It’s understandable why the Giants don’t want to pay him since running backs have a short shelf life. Most NFL teams are trending in that direction as evident with the Minnesota Vikings releasing Dalvin Cook, despite four straight Pro Bowl seasons and being under contract.

Credit John Mara for not getting involved in negotiations and undermining his general manager Joe Schoen in the process here. Still, it doesn’t look right that the team seems determined to jettison their star player after investing in Jones.

Whether Barkley agrees to play this season or not, it sure seems like this is going to be his last hurrah with the Giants one way or another. By not coming up with a new deal with him, it sends a message he is not in their long-term plans. Why would he want to play for an organization that sent a message that they don’t need him? It would be a charade for them to be back together this season.

The Giants were better off releasing or trading him this offseason rather than going through the nonsense. They would have done right by him by doing that.

For any Giants fan that says he is making $10 million to hold out, he or she doesn’t understand. This isn’t about business. This is about what's right. This is what it’s about from Barkley’s perspective. Any human being would have done the same thing if he or she was in his position in any business.

You can bet other running backs are watching what the Giants running back is doing. If he sells himself short, then teams can get away with paying running backs under market value. There would be no incentive for future players to play the running back position. The running game doesn’t have to die despite what analytics tell you. It still has meaning. It should be treated as such, and that’s the point he is conveying here.

Regardless of what happens, there will not be a happy ending for both sides. The Giants star might as well hold out and do what’s best for him and his contemporaries.

Barkley needs to stand his ground here. He can’t just stop when the season starts or else he wasted everyone’s time by holding out. There has to be a purpose for what he’s doing.

It’s going to be interesting how this plays out.

Right now, the Giants and their fans may not think this is a big deal, but as this holdout starts seeping into the season, it will become a story.

Only Barkley can have a say in how this ends up. That's the beauty of all this. It could be the Giants season hinges on what he does.

You can read Leslie's Jersey Sporting News columns on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

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