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Monday, January 30, 2023

5 teams that would be the perfect fit for Giants RB Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could be looking for another team if he and N.Y. can’t agree on contract terms.

Barkley is coming off a resurgent season that saw him return to the upper echelon of NFL running backs. The former first-round pick rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 338 receiving yards.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen has said the team “hopes” to keep Barkley in the fold, but they must also negotiate a contract with quarterback Daniel Jones if he’s in their plans. It might get too pricey for the team to keep both guys.

A report has surfaced indicating that Barkley may want around $16 million per season, around what 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey makes and more than a reported $12 million annual deal he was offered by New York last fall.

However, Barkley said Sunday he wasn’t interested in becoming the highest-paid running back in football with a new deal looming.

It’s always possible the Giants place the franchise tag on Barkley, but that could be delaying the inevitable breakup between the two sides if a new deal can’t be brokered.

Where else could Barkley land this offseason if he does reach free agency?

Let’s look at five options, shall we?

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The Chicago Bears could be the team in the best position to make a play for Barkley.

Over the Cap shows that Chicago has a league-best $92 million or so in available cap space, and running back David Montgomery will be a free agent this March.

The Bears may want to give quarterback Justin Fields a bit of a break in the run game in the future. Having Barkley in the fold could help a Chicago team better diversify its offensive attack and give the Bears more incentive to use Fields’ arm (with added receiving options, of course).

Fields, Barkley and running back Khalil Herbert would give the Bears a lethal trio in the rushing attack.

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The Atlanta Falcons sit behind the Bears at present in the cap space department with $56.6 million in space, per OTC.

If the Falcons want to better support rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder (or whomever is starting for Atlanta this fall), pairing Barkley with fellow 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Allgeier and standout reserve Caleb Huntley might be tempting.

Signing Barkley would allow do-it-all offensive weapon Cordarrelle Patterson to play more loosely in the team’s formations, and it would take pressure off Atlanta’s passing attack if the quarterback situation doesn’t exactly light the world on fire.

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The Patriots could use a spark on offense after a disappointing 2022 season.

With running back Damien Harris a free agent, New England could lure Barkley to Foxboro to be the feature back in the team’s backfield.

With the quarterback situation a bit shaky for Bill Belichick and company, adding Barkley with running back Rhamondre Stevenson could give them more peace of mind.

Plus, the Pats have $32.8 million in cap space, per OTC. Belichick has worked wonders with veteran running backs in the past, and Barkley could be next.

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Would the Las Vegas Raiders swap out one star running back for another?

The Raiders had a comeback season from Josh Jacobs this past fall, but he’s also prepared to reach free agency if the two sides can’t work out a deal.

With quarterback Derek Carr not likely to return, the Raiders would need some sort of consistency in the running game if Jacobs left.

Adding Barkley to the roster would give the team reassurance that they’d have a run game to rely on next season. OTC says Vegas has roughly $22 million in available cap space.

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This last option would be contingent with what happens with quarterback Lamar Jackson’s contract.

If Baltimore reaches a major extension with Jackson, the team may not want to make a major deal for a running back like Barkley. However, if the two sides come to an impasse and Jackson is traded, the Ravens might consider what adding Barkley would do to the offense.

With Baltimore firmly looking for a new quarterback in that situation, signing Barkley could take pressure off the team if things don’t solve themselves overnight. Baltimore is set to have $27.2 million this offseason per OTC, and they could fit Barkley’s contract on the roster.

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