All eyes were on three NFL players at 4:00 p.m. EST approached on Monday: Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys. The trio of running backs were given the franchise tag this offseason, and all three hoped to get a long-term deal with their respective teams before the deadline to extend players who were tagged rolled around on Monday afternoon.
Ultimately, all three players struck out, meaning they’re set to play this year on their $10.91 million franchise tenders, which Pollard signed. Barkley and Jacobs, meanwhile, have not, which has led to questions about when they will report to their teams this offseason — Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it’s unexpected that the players will report to training camp.
Barkley was the only one of the trio to have a public reaction to the news, as he tweeted “It is what it is” just before the deadline. But all three players received a whole lot of support from their fellow running backs, like San Francisco 49ers back Christian McCaffrey, who called it “criminal” that they’re all in this situation.
This is Criminal. Three of the best PLAYERS in the entire league, regardless of position. https://t.co/zDXRS5cGdu
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) July 17, 2023
A number of other running backs were especially upset by a tweet from ESPN’s Matt Miller that advocated for not giving players at that position long-term deals, with all of them making clear that they aren’t happy with how the league is approaching paying running backs.
At this point , just take the RB position out the game then . The ones that want to be great & work as hard as they can to give their all to an organization , just seems like it don’t even matter . I’m with every RB that’s fighting to get what they deserve . https://t.co/OgvBWZCKvn
— Derrick Henry (@KingHenry_2) July 17, 2023
1. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.
2. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed.
…If you succeed…
3. You boost the Organization
Doesn’t matter, you’re a RB https://t.co/mG6In1ATGg
— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 17, 2023
I agree with my running back brothers around the NFL- history will show that you need running backs to win- we set the tone every game and run trough walls for our team and lead in many ways- this notion that we deserve less is a joke. https://t.co/rWJkGIEgmW
— Najee Harris (@ohthatsNajee22) July 17, 2023
This is the kind of trash that has artificially devalued one of the most important positions in the game. Everyone knows it’s tough to win without a top RB and yet they act like we are discardable widgets. I support any RB doing whatever it takes to get his bag. https://t.co/sRYfAKwrpQ
— Austin Ekeler (@AustinEkeler) July 17, 2023
The RBs deserve more. Can’t believe it’s even a topic.
— Raheem Mostert (@RMos_8Ball) July 18, 2023
if this do not open your eyes you tripin https://t.co/XUf0EFPEsx
— Najee Harris (@ohthatsNajee22) July 18, 2023
What’s even crazier is if you exclude to the top 5 RB pay, the number would probably be closer to league minimum. https://t.co/YgLX7odoJZ
— Mark Ingram II (@markingramII) July 18, 2023
I have previously mentioned that as running backs, we should have our OWN UNION AND CBA!! It is becoming truer by the day. It is a shame what is happening to RBEASTS around the league!! I stand with my brothers and will support anyway I can!!#SaveTheRunningBack @sj39‼️ https://t.co/QuIb8o9QIO
— Mark Ingram II (@markingramII) July 17, 2023
It’s worth mentioning that these tweets were all liked or retweeted by Barkley, Jacobs, and/or Pollard, with Jacobs even reacting to Henry’s post.
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) July 17, 2023
Both the Giants and the Raiders will kick off their seasons on Sept. 10.