Giants Can Gain Saquon Barkley ‘Leverage’ With Bills’ Free Agent

The New York Giants applying the franchise tag to Saquon Barkley took care of keeping one of the best running backs in the NFL on the roster. Yet, the Giants have merely put another contract dispute with Barkley on hold for a year, a situation they can change by signing one of head coach Brian Daboll’s former players during the second wave of free agency.

Devin Singletary is still on the market, and Daboll knows all about the 25-year-old’s versatility from his days as offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills. A reunion “could be possible,” according to Pro Football Network’s Tommy Garrett.

He believes “securing Singletary would not only give the Giants one of the best backfield duos in the NFL — if not the best — but it would also provide New York flexibility in how they use Barkley. Additionally, it would help create leverage in case the two sides can’t come to a long-term deal following the 2023 season when Barkley’s franchise tag expires.”

It’s a sound argument, and this isn’t the first time the Giants have been linked with Singletary during this year’s free-agency period. A short-term, team-friendly deal still makes sense, even after the Giants re-signed Matt Breida, along with tagging Barkley.

Loaded Backfield a Good Idea for Giants

General manager Joe Schoen was smart to bring Breida back on a one-year contract carrying a modest salary cap hit of just $1.4 million, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic:

Contract details for Giants RB Matt Breida, per source: 1 year, $1.4M with $500K guaranteed ($200K signing bonus and $300 of base salary). Breida can earn up to $1M in unspecified playing time incentives. Cap hit should be $1.4M.

— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) March 14, 2023

Breida is solid as a runner, receiver and blocker, and gives the Giants a proven deputy behind Barkley. Singletary is a more dynamic playmaker, though, something Daboll knows from three seasons working with the player at Highmark Stadium.

Daboll used the full range of Singletary’s skill-set to attack defenses. That led to Singletary making a career-high 40 catches in 2021, along with 870 rushing yards, another career-best tally.

One of Singletary’s best runs that season was this 46-yard touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2:

Devin Singletary goes untouched 🙌 @motorsingletary #BillsMafia

📺: #BUFvsMIA on FOX
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/EHbGav8TBE

— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021

The play showcased Singletary’s breakaway speed, a quality even Barkley can’t match. Singletary offers a big-play threat, both on the ground and through the air, but the 5’7″, 203-pounder can also work well in short-yardage situations at the goal-line.

Singletary scooted through a gap to score untouched from five yards against the Cleveland Browns last season:

Devin Singletary is IN!

📺: #CLEvsBUF on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/wfFGSYn0ai pic.twitter.com/FCykFKUCU6

— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2022

Singletary possesses the vision, low centre of gravity and acceleration to continue surprising teams within the red zone. Putting him on the field with Barkley would help the Giants show defenses different looks in clutch situations, keeping opponents guessing over who will get the ball, or allowing offensive coordinator Mike Kafka to split a runner out as a receiver.

A reasonable market value projected by Spotrac.com to be $5.5 million per year ought to keep Singletary’s name on the Giants’ list during the second wave of free agency. Schoen and Daboll should act fast to sign a player already drawing interest from elsewhere around the league.

Rebuilding AFC Team Showing Interest in Brian Daboll Favorite

Singletary may not be on the market for long. Not when he’s already visiting with the Houston Texans, per KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson:

#Bills free agent running back Devin Singletary #Falcons free agent wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge, #Steelers free agent wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. visiting #Texans today per league sources

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 20, 2023

The Bills are certainly happy to let Singletary take his time testing the market. Buffalo has 2022 second-round pick James Cook on the books and he could soon be joined by a marquee name in the backfield.

Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo revealed the Bills could sign former Dallas Cowboys’ star Ezekiel Elliott:

Reasoning on the #Bills, from league source “Buffalo is looking for a big back, and Zeke checks that box.”

— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) March 17, 2023

If the Bills don’t want Singletary, the Giants should. Schoen still has $4,190,051 to work with under the cap, but he’s got to keep one eye on what might happen next offseason.

Barkley will still be waiting on a long-term deal, something the Giants might struggle to accommodate. Schoen allocated $160 million over four years to quarterback Daniel Jones, while All-Pro nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II is expected to receive a lucrative contract extension this year.

Having Singletary on standby will prevent the Giants from being forced to overpay to retain Barkley for the long haul.

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