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Former Second-Overall Pick Has Preferred Free Agent Destination (Report)

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and one Super Bowl contender are reportedly mutually intested in a free agency signing.
Saquon Barkley Free Agency

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is arguably the best running back set to hit free agency. Originally selected with the second-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Penn State product has remained one of the most elusive and unstoppable dual threats whenever he’s been on the field. While he admittedly hasn’t been the picture of health throughout his professional career, he has made the Pro Bowl in every season where he’s played 16 or more games.

Following reports that the Giants will not use the franchise tag on him, Saquon Barkley is just weeks away from choosing his next NFL home in free agency. While anything could happen, right now the frontrunner for his services appears to be the Houston Texans.

Houston Texans, Saquon Barkley Have Mutual Interest In Free Agency

It’s easy to see why Saquon Barkley and the Houston Texans make sense for each other in free agency. From Barkley’s perspective, he just spent the past six years on a mostly terrible New York Giants roster. Now entering his age-27 season, he wants to start winning football games again, and the Texans have the roster – and quarterback – to get that done.

Houston, meanwhile, just made it to the AFC Divisional Round with a rookie quarterback and an untested roster. Now that everyone has one more year of experience, their eyes should be on the Super Bowl. Armed with over $73.95 million in cap space, the Texans have the resources to hand out a respectable contract to Saquon Barkley in free agency.

Of course, just because both sides are interested in each other doesn’t mean a deal is going to happen. Last year at this point, most believed that DeAndre Hopkins was going to sign with either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills once released. Instead, he chose the Tennessee Titans because they gave him the most money. NFL players have a short window of earning opportunity, and nobody should fault Saquon Barkley for taking all the money he can in free agency. If he lands somewhere else, these five teams make the most sense.

Other Potential Destinations

Chicago Bears

Roschon Johnson and Khalil Mack played well last year, but they’re not going to stop the Bears from signing Saquon Barkley in free agency. While those two are fine players, Barkley is a true three-down back who never needs to come off the field and can always keep a defense on its toes. With a Justin Fields trade seeming inevitable, an old-school coach like Matt Eberflus would probably love to surround his new quarterback with a reliable running game. Barkley can break tackles up the middle, outrun defenders to the edge, and haul in just about anything thrown in his zip code.

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens are betting favorites for Derrick Henry, but if they can’t sign him, then they could pivot to Saquon Barkley in free agency. While Henry is the better pure runner, there is a case to be made that Barkley should be Baltimore’s top target, seeing as the former second-overall pick is younger and a much better receiver. While both players would thrive in Baltimore’s offense, Barkley could be an Offensive Player of the Year candidate in this environment.

Los Angeles Chargers

Jim Harbaugh believes in the power of the run game, but he doesn’t necessarily believe in Austin Ekeler. With reports that the running back is on his way out of town, somebody is going to have to step up as the starting running back. With no clear answer on the roster, Harbaugh and company could sign Saquon Barkley in free agency. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman wants to see Herbert with a strong running game, and this is one of the best ways to get that done.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys will not use the franchise tag on Tony Pollard, and they could look within the division to replace him. Pollard was phenomenal in small doses prior to 2023 but was ultimately incapable of handling a full three-down workload. Saquon Barkley has proven that he can handle a high volume of touches, making him an ideal signing in free agency. The Cowboys know exactly how dangerous Barkley can be, and the running back would probably love the opportunity to run behind one of the NFL’s better offensive lines.

Philadelphia Eagles

D’Andre Swift made the Pro Bowl last year, but anyone who watched the games knows he wasn’t nearly as good as his numbers suggest. While he did a fine job as the starting running back, his inability to break tackles was evident whenever he made it to the second level. Saquon Barkley is a much more elusive and physical player who should be able to create more big plays behind this top-five offensive line. Miles Sanders and D’Andre Swift proved that you don’t need to be special to put up big numbers in this system, so just imagine what Barkley could do.

Main Photo: Vincent Carchietta – USA Today Sports


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