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Would Giants, Raiders rescind franchise tags from Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs?

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In an offseason full of decisions made — good, bad, or otherwise — the smartest move might have come from Cowboys running back Tony Pollard.

Recovering from a broken ankle while the running back market cratered, Pollard quickly opted to accept his franchise tender of $10.1 million, making the salary for 2023 fully and completely guaranteed. While it removed any leverage he might have had to, for example, skip the offseason program in an effort to get a long-term deal, it's not as if he was going to participate anyway, given the injury. And with the arbitrary mid-July deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year deals, there would have been no reason to skip training camp or regular-season games to try to get something that, by rule, he wouldn't have been able to achieve.

That brings us to the two franchise-tagged running backs who have yet to accept their $10.1 million tenders: Saquon Barkley of the Giants and Josh Jacobs of the Raiders. Until they do, their teams could rescind the tenders, making them free agents.

It has happened rarely, but it's a device held by every team that uses the tag. Until it is accepted, it can be removed.

From the teams' perspectives, they would need to find a replacement, either internally or externally. As evidenced by the deal done Friday to keep Joe Mixon in Cincinnati, Dalvin Cook could likely be signed for less than $10.1 million.

From the players' perspective, who would roll out the green carpet for them at this stage of the offseason? Who has the need, the cash, and the cap space to give them either what they're looking for in a long-term deal or what they could have on a one-year contract from their current teams?

It's an important factor for the players and their agents to consider, with the deadline for signing long-term deals only two days away. If they don't take the best offer on the table as of Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET (and they have every right to reject any such offer), what happens next?

As they huff and puff about not showing up for camp or Week One, the teams could blow their houses down by removing the tags and forcing them to become eleventh-hour free agents, scrambling to get something as good as they could have gotten by Monday's deadline.

The franchise tag is bad for players. It always has been, it always will be. But the rules to which the players collectively agreed remain in place, and the teams aren't bashful about using them to the fullest extent. For the Giants and Raiders, one last move could put either or both of their franchise-tagged tailbacks in contractual checkmate.

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