Saquon Barkley Trade Rumors: Dolphins, Jets Among 11 Potential Landing Spots For Giants RB
Saquon Barkley is signed with the Giants until 2022, and at just 25 and with a Playmaking Pro Bowl streak on his résumé, the former first-round running back could make for an intriguing comeback story under new coach Brian Daboll. New general manager Joe Schoen hasn’t ruled out soliciting — or seeking — trade offers for Barkley this offseason, but told reporters from the Scouting Combine this week he was “open to anything.”
The stance makes perfect sense. With Barkley due $7.2 million in a contract year and a future renewal set to cost the Giants between $10 million and $15 million a year depending on performance, New York has every reason to seek reasonable offers that include it can get. Barkley’s still young, and he’s displayed MVP-caliber talent as an all-purpose back, but he’s also nursed injuries for three straight seasons and missed 21 games since 2019. In today’s NFL, where most RBs are as replaceable as ever, he’s totally expendable.
Of course, the return would not be extravagant. But the Giants need cap space, and a trade would save them as much as $7.2 million (they could also agree to eat some of Barkley’s 2022 salary). They could also use any additional draft pick compensation for their rebuild to accommodate bigger needs like quarterback, offensive line, pass rusher, and so on.
Which teams could actually consider trading for Barkley? Here are 11 possible landing spots:
They have a lot of tough decisions to make financially, so adding Barkley rather than re-signing pending free agents Leonard Fournette and/or Ronald Jones doesn’t necessarily seem like a cost-effective bet. Still, Bruce Arians could favor the upside as he desperately tries to keep a post-Tom Brady offensive afloat.
Need another RB? Not really. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson combined for 1,500 yards and 20 points in 2021, all without the typical No. 3 James White. But when did that stop Bill Belichick from stuffing his backfield with insurance? The Pats spent a lot last offseason and could see Barkley as a luxury help for QB Mac Jones.
Kyle Shanahan has managed to feed almost everyone in his backfield, so paying a premium at RB would be a bit uncharacteristic of him. On the other hand, you could do a lot worse for a one-year probationary period. They love to run the ball, Barkley would be a physical complement for new QB Trey Lance and Raheem Mostert gets a free hand.
By keeping QB Matt Ryan, they indicate they still plan to compete rather than undergo a complete makeover. With Cordarrelle Patterson facing free agency, they need more than Mike Davis in the backfield. Coach Arthur Smith knows the value of a physically insane ball carrier from his days with Derrick Henry.
As the current contender, their eyes will always be on additional toys for QB Josh Allen. Devin Singletary has proven capable when given opportunities in their backfield, but he’d be far more valuable sharing carries with a charged Barkley than, say, Zack Moss. Imagine how impressive Allen-Barkley option runs would be for opposing defenses.
Andy Reid has been picking up quite a few flyers on veteran RBs lately, from Le’Veon Bell to LeSean McCoy to current No. 2 Jerick McKinnon. Barkley would be the most talented yet and would relieve Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the burden of establishing himself as a reliable RB1. They have cap space and are always trying to surround Patrick Mahomes with more talent.
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Pete Carroll might as well invest in his own hackneyed Class of 2018 project, Rashaad Penny. But if they can’t reach an agreement at free hand, or even if they can, Chris Carson’s future is also in the stars. Carroll loves the old-school ground-and-pound game, and Barkley would essentially give him two bruises to play behind Russell Wilson.
They need help at literally every position. You have money to spend. And GM Nick Caserio proved in 2021 that he’s ready to throw all manner of battered veteran RBs at the wall in hopes one of them sticks.
GM Steve Keim is no stranger to taking flyers to injury-prone veterans. More importantly, both James Conner and Chase Edmonds will hit free hands and they expect to lose at least half of the pairing. Their eyes are obviously on the competition now, and a healthy Barkley could make their offense even more explosive.
Barkley wouldn’t have to move very far. More importantly, the Jets could use a better match for promising 2021 starter Michael Carter, and they have nearly $50 million in available cap space. As a bonus, Barkley’s father is still a die-hard Jets fan to this day, which may instill some fondness for Gang Green in his son.
New coach Mike McDaniel is all about the ground game, and the Dolphins only have Myles Gaskin under contract until 2022. With an NFL-leading $60 million capacity space, they can afford to get Barkley’s upside behind the newly replenished O-Line. As a bonus, the RB could reunite with Penn State product Mike Gesicki.