Whether or not it’s smart to pay a running back is an ongoing debate in the NFL right now. The New York Giants won’t be able to escape that debate, as they’ll have to decide sooner or later whether Saquon Barkley is in the picture long term. There’s some trends, however, that may give insight into the moves the team will make.
While it’s impossible to know what the new front office is thinking, this early into Joe Schoen’s tenure, we can look at what winning teams have done.
Super Bowl winning teams are cheap at running back
Take a look at the leading rusher from the last 13 Super Bowls and their base salary: pic.twitter.com/oP6ZRh7uES
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) February 14, 2022
When you take a look at the winners of the last 13 Super Bowls, it stands out that running back is not a high base salary position.
None of the leading rushers on this list of teams made more than $2.5M in base salary during their championship seasons. Many of them made less than $1M. Barkley, on the other hand, is set to make $7.2M for the 2022 season before becoming a free agent next year.
This isn’t to say that Barkley is headed out the door soon, and that the Giants should move on from him. It shows, though, that the most successful teams from the past decade haven’t overvalued the running back position.
The Cowboys broke this rule with Ezekiel Elliot, and it hasn’t worked out for them. What does it mean for the Giants?
Well, they would be smart to avoid the same outcome. When the time comes to deal with Barkley’s contract, expect the Giants to look for a discount if they do retain the player.
With so much evidence that highly paying running backs these days is a poor idea, it’s just hard to see the Giants locking themselves into a major cap commitment with one under Joe Schoen.