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Former Second-Overall Pick To Test Free Agent Market (Report)

According to a recent report, free agent running back Saquon Barkley will test the open market but could still return to the Giants.
Saquon Barkley Free Agent

Impending free agent running back Saquon Barkley is one of the biggest names set to hit the open market. Originally selected with the second-overall pick back in 2018, the Penn State product has routinely been one of the most elusive and dangerous players in the league when on the field. However, due to his injury history and the nature of the running back position, Barkley and the Giants have struggled to come to terms on a long-term deal.

Saquon Barkley was supposed to be a free agent at this point last year, but the Giants used the franchise tag to keep him around for an additional season. The two sides tried to negotiate a long-term agreement but ultimately settled on a reworked one-year deal. With the running back market in shambles, Barkley and the Giants may have found a strategy to determine his true market value.

According to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post, the Giants could use the open market to set the parameters for what Saquon Barkley deserves as a free agent. Basically, when free agency opens up, Barkley would talk to other teams and come back to the Giants with the best offer. If New York decides to match or exceed the offer, Barkley will remain a Giant. If not, then he’ll head off to a new team.

Saquon Barkley To Test Free Agent Market, Could Still Return to Giants

While this is just speculation as of this posting, this free agent strategy makes sense for Saquon Barkley. After all, running back value is at an all-time low, so it’s hard to know exactly what a player like Barkley is worth without talking to the other 31 teams. Keeping in mind that this is just a suggestion, Barkley appears to be open to the idea.

“I wouldn’t be against that. That’s fair,” Barkley said. “They know where I want to be. Ownership said they want me to be a Giant for life, too. Last year, we tried our best at the end. Business happened, and we didn’t get it done.”

From the sounds of it, Saquon Barkley will return to the Giants if they’re willing to match the best free agent offer out there. However, if they’re not, the former second-overall pick will go somewhere else. While anything could happen in free agency, these five teams make the most sense as potential destinations.

Possible Team Fits

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have one of the most wide-open running back depth charts in the league. With J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both set to hit free agency, there is a wide-open spot in this backfield. Edwards is nothing more than a solid starter, while Dobbins has battled multiple injuries over the past few years. Signing Saquon Barkley as a free agent would give this team some much-needed stability in the backfield, and the Penn State product could be lethal sharing a backfield with Lamar Jackson.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans have their franchise quarterback, an easy division, and $65.4 million in salary cap space. Their Super Bowl window is just about to open up, so they might as well break the bank on a free agent like Saquon Barkley. Running backs are generally a luxury position, but Houston’s roster is in pretty good shape, and Barkley probably won’t get enough money to prevent the Texans from going all-in on other big-name free agents. Having a franchise quarterback on a rookie contract is the biggest competitive advantage in the game, and it’s time for Houston to make the most of this window.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are going to look a lot different in 2024. With Caleb Williams likely taking over for Justin Fields, the Bears will have to build an environment that can support a young quarterback like the USC product. Matt Eberflus is an old-school coach who believes in the power of the run game, so he might think it wise to invest in a free agent like Saquon Barkley. After all, the team has $49.1 million in cap space, so they might as well use it.

Los Angeles Chargers

Jim Harbaugh likes Austin Ekeler, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go after a younger player like free agent Saquon Barkley. The Chargers are in a bit of a salary cap predicament, so they might not be able to break the bank on Barkley. However, if they part ways with a few cap casualties, they should have the money to bring in Barkley if they so desire.

Miami Dolphins

If De’Von Achane were a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier, the Miami Dolphins would have their unquestioned running back of the future. Unfortunately, the Texas A&M product is built more like a track star and might not have the size to handle a full three-down workload. Saquon Barkley can handle a lead role in a backfield, and signing him as a free agent could give the Dolphins the most explosive running back tandem in the game.

Main Photo: Vincent Carchietta – USA Today Sports


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