Are Saquon Barkley’s days with the New York Giants numbered?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are in a period of roster rebuilding. New general manager Joe Schoen has released some players and restructured some contracts to get the Giants in a healthy financial situation ahead of the new league year. Schoen explained that tough decisions will be made this offseason. This statement rings true with trade rumors surrounding Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry. Another Giants Pro Bowler’s name has been brought up in various trade rumors, too. 2018 second overall draft pick Saquon Barkley could be next up on the chopping block.

The Giants are open to trading Saquon Barkley

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, there is a real chance that the Giants could end up trading running back Saquon Barkley.

“More and more, I’m getting the sense that Saquon Barkley won’t be on the Giants in 2022. The team is open to trading him, as GM Joe Schoen indicated at the combine. And while his $7.2 million salary isn’t the top target in New York’s cap-saving efforts, it would help. The Giants’ hope is that a contending team with a need for one more explosive player on offense (Buffalo or Arizona?) might offer a midround pick for Barkley.” – Dan Graziano of ESPN

Trading Saquon Barkley would clear $7,217,000 in salary cap space and bring alone $0 in dead cap penalties. Moving this contract would be huge for the Giants as they prepare for free agency. But, of course, it would come at a cost.

Saquon Barkley, when healthy, is viewed as one of the best running backs in the NFL. The 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year broke records in his first career season. But since then, it has been difficult to get Barkley on the field. Saquon has appeared in only 28 of 49 games over the last three years. Injuries to his ACL and ankle have made life difficult for the Giants’ elusive rusher.

Saquon stayed healthy for the majority of the 2021 season, but it was his worst to date. Barkley only rushed for 593 yards and two touchdowns with a 3.7 yards per attempt average. The Giants’ offense struggled as a whole, but Saquon did not stand out as the superstar he is supposed to be.

Trading Barkley would leave the Giants with a major hole on offense. They would likely field a mid-round pick in return but would struggle to replace the amount of star power that Saquon brings to the table. At his best, Saquon Barkley is a player that can total over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a season. This might be the most cost-effective decision for the Giants but it will only add another position to the long list of needs that Joe Schoen needs to address this offseason.