The New York Giants need to clear about $10 million in salary space whether it be via trade or cutting players. Having enough money to sign their 2022 Draft Class is the priority, but it will force management to make a few difficult decisions. The expectation is that GM Joe Schoen will trade CB James Bradberry, clearing $11.7M in cap space, but running back Saquon Barkley also presents an opporunity.
Barkley has disappointed the past three years due to injury, sustaining multiple ankle ailments and an ACL tear in 2020, limiting him to just two games. The Giants would love to get the best version of Barkley, who amassed over 2,000 all-purpose yards during his electrifying rookie season. Is it realistic to expect that type of production after numerous significant injuries? Probably not, but the Giants can’t afford to be giving away play-makers if they truly belive Daniel Jones is “the guy.”
Schoen indicated on Monday that trading Barkley isn’t in the plans, but he has received calls from several teams regarding his availability.
“That was taken a little bit out of context at the combine. I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley,” Schoen said. “Everybody ran with that from the combine. I said I would listen if people called on any players. It would be irresponsible if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do every deal. So I haven’t called one team on Saquon Barkley.
The Giants haven’t been actively “shopping” Barkley, but that doesn’t mean they would stop a trade from going through if they were offered decent draft value. However, considering he was the No. 2 overall selection in 2018 and is capable of elite play, Schoen may be unwilling to give him up with one year left on his deal at $7.2 million unless it’s for a good return. Objectively, Barkley’s guaranteed cap hit isn’t exactly enticing for opposing teams.
“I’ve got calls about a few of our players. He’s one where a couple teams have reached out. But I’m not shopping Saquon Barkley.”
Even if Saquon returns to form and dominates this upcoming season, it’s extremely unlikely managements dishes out a multi-year deal worth big money for the injury-prone back. Overpaying running backs with a lot of baggage can be problematic, just ask the Dallas Cowboys who are being choked by Ezekiel Elliott’s deal.