Three Potential Landing Spots For Saquon Barkley
The running back market is in shambles right now, evidenced by the new contracts that have been received by running backs during free agency and the lack of movement for other free-agent running backs to get signed by teams. More prominent running backs like Austin Ekeler, who is currently seeking a new deal with the Los Angeles Chargers, are just another example of a running back that’s having issues finding big money heading into 2023. Now it looks like Saquon Barkley is putting his foot down after refusing to sign the franchise tag that the New York Giants have placed on him this offseason.
Barkley was hit with the non-exclusive franchise tag by the Giants. In layman’s terms, this means that Barkley has the ability to negotiate with another team to get a long-term deal. The flip side is that the Giants hold the right to match any deal for Barkley. The current amount for the non-exclusive tag price is set at $10.1 million. Per reports, the Giants did make an offer to Barkely after the 2022 season came to a close in the amount of $13 million but Barkely rejected that offer.
Barkley managed to stay healthy throughout the entire 2022 season and posted career highs in rushing, finishing fourth in rushing with 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns. Barkley averaged 4.4 yards per attempt and finished fourth in rushing attempts with 295 and averaged 1.9 yards per rush after contact and finished with 563 yards after contact which was good for fourth among running backs. As far as fantasy is concerned, Barkley finished as the RB5 with 284 fantasy points on the season, his best fantasy performance since his rookie season where he finished with 385.8 fantasy points (24.1 FPPG) playing 16 games.
The Giants did go ahead and paid their franchise quarterback a hefty $40 million/year contract and the Giants don’t seem to be in a rush to get Barkley on a long-term deal. And while Barkley has stated that he would love to be a “Giant for life”, the possibility remains that he could end up somewhere else if he can get a better deal than a franchise tag. But where would Saquon Barkley be a good fit if he were to leave the Giants?
This would be a nice case of “the rich get richer” if Saquon Barkley were to land with the Bengals with everything they already have with Joe Burrow and company. Current running back Joe Mixon seems to be on the outs after GM Duke Tobin was non-committal about his status with the team for the 2023 season. Then you factor in all of Mixon’s legal troubles over the course of this offseason as well as the departure of Samaje Perine to Denver, and it looks like the Bengals have an open slot at the running back position.
Mixon finished 26th in rushing for the 2022 season and that may just be another reason why the Bengals brass wants to move on from Mixon this offseason. Barkley would be a welcomed addition to the team as his skill set as both a rusher and passer far exceed what Joe Mixon has put together so far in his career. Barkley, who was a top-five rusher last season with just over 1,300 yards, would be a dangerous weapon in the Bengals backfield and the upgrade at quarterback from Daniel Jones to Joe Burrow would go a long way.
The phrase “It’s just business” might seem like it should go here but this would definitely scream a bit of petty was involved if Saquon Barkley wanted to land with a division rival. The Commanders would get a clear upgrade in their backfield over Antonio Gibson, Brian Robinson Jr., and J.D. McKissic. Barkley simply does everything that can do in their individual roles but better. None of the current Commander running backs finished inside the top 20 in rushing last season and as a unit, the Commanders ranked 12th in rushing and 29th in rushing touchdowns. None of the backs on the Commanders’ roster were viable options for fantasy in 2022.
The Giants finished fourth in the same category as Saquon Barkley accounted for nearly half of the teams’ rushing touchdowns (10) by himself. Barkley would be looking for some kind of revenge as the team that spurned him into leaving and playing with a division rival, looking to stick it to the Giants twice a season for the rest of his career.
The Bears would be a nice spot for Barkley to land in 2023 and beyond. While the landing spot might hurt Khalil Herbert’s fantasy value, the pairing between Barkley and quarterback Justin Fields would be one to talk about until the start of the season. Fields in his own right is an amazing rusher. During 2022, Fields averaged 7.1 yards per attempt. That was better than most running backs last season. Combine that with what the Bears’ front office has already done by adding wide receiver help with trading for DJ Moore and Chase Claypool last year and the Bears offense could be one of the dark sheep in the NFC North.
The Bears finished second in rushing attempts in 2022 with 558. Barkley could possibly see more work than former Bears running back David Montgomery saw with his 201 attempts. Barkley finished with 295 rushing attempts in 2022, placing him fourth in the category, and was able to average 17.8 fantasy points per game to David Montgomery’s 11.1 fantasy points per game. Having to worry about Justin Fields and Saquon Barkley back there might just keep defensive coordinators up at night.
What do you think? Where would you want Saquon Barkley to land if he could be traded? Comment in the comment section or under the posted article across our social media. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok “@fantasysphinest“.
Everything here just shows how undervalued the RB position truly is. There has to be some changes, or you are going to get a full-on revolt from RBs. If an RB like these individuals cannot get a new deal; where does that leave everyone else? Barkley’s injury history would have me a little cautious as GM but Eckler and Mixon should be able to get something done. Hey Buffalo make that push for any of these RB on team friendly deal and see what happens.
The RB market is crazy right now. It’s not fair that teams aren’t trying to pay the position especially when they probably touch the ball the most outside of the QB/C.