One of the most polarizing players for the New York Giants is running back Saquon Barkley. The team learned an important lesson drafting a running back 2nd overall in 2018, but new general manager Joe Schoen has a far more modern grasp on positional value.
The Buffalo Bills have utilized the middle-rounds to find talented running backs (Zack Moss and Devin Singletary), but the reality is simple, a healthy scheme and solid offensive line are really all you need to maximize an RB in the NFL.
Just take a look at the San Francisco 49ers, who turn over running backs faster than any other team in the league and still maintain one of the best rushing attacks in football.
However, not many teams have a talent as lucrative as Saquon Barkley on the roster, providing the Giants a bit of value they can extract if they elect to float him in potential trade this offseason.
ESPN suggested that the Giants could trade Saquon Barkley, adding as much draft capital as possible while getting his money off the books:
It might be time. It has been four years. Barkley has high-quality traits, but the Giants need to exhaust all options for their rebuild. Enough teams are still enamored by his skill set that they could be interested in a potential deal. Many still view Barkley as a top-shelf tailback when healthy. He’s due $7.2 million on a fifth-year option, and doing a long-term deal in New York for the 2023 free agent just doesn’t make sense for either side. Barkley in San Francisco’s offense would be fun, and Tampa Bay could have an opening if free agent Leonard Fournette signs elsewhere.
Barkley is coming off his first season post ACL tear, finishing with 593 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. He also added 263 yards through the air and two receiving scores. However, he is far away from his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2018 when he was a rookie.
During his first NFL campaign, not only did he win Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he recorded over 2000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns, turning the ball over zero times.
Barkley is a unique talent that should see an increase in production during his second year after his ACL injury. The Giants could retain him and make him their focal point on offense, but Schoen may value the $7.2 million they would save more. That’s not even to mention any draft capital they would add in a prospective deal.
It is highly unlikely the Giants will extend Barkley for the future, so cashing in now on any remaining value may be advisable.