New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season and the speculation as to where he could land, if not with the Giants, is underway.
According to BetOnline’s betting odds for Barkley’s next destination, the Baltimore Ravens have the best odds at landing the two-time Pro Bowl running back with +400 odds, the Buffalo Bills are one team behind with +425 odds followed by the Denver Broncos (+500). Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the favored teams if the star decides to depart the Giants. The Cowboys are given +750 odds, ranking sixth among all of the teams listed.
Here is the full list, via Jaime Eisner of The Draft Network:
“Where will Saquon Barkley sign IF he leaves the #NYGiants? (Odds via @betonline_ag):
Ravens (+400) Bills (+425) Broncos (+500) Jets (+600) Patriots (+700) Cowboys (+750) Chiefs (+800) Panthers (+900) Saints (+900) Bears (10/1) Seahawks (10/1) Cardinals (14/1).”
The teams listed as favorites to sign Barkley are up for debate.
As for the Cowboys, they will have to make a decision on Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard’s futures. Elliott is due to be the second-highest paid running back in the league in 2023 with a cap hit of $16.7 million. Pollard broke his fibula in Dallas’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers and is on the road to recovery as he’ll be a free agent in the offseason.
Still, it’s still hard to imagine Barkley joining the Cowboys, considering his background and comfortability in New York.
Saquon Barkley Not Looking to ‘Reset Market’
Barkley, 25, played out the fifth-year option in his rookie contract and set a career-high with 1,312 rushing yards in the 2022 campaign. He also posted 57 receptions for 338 and his number of receptions ranked seventh in the league among all players at his position.
After a resurgent year, Barkley is hoping for a long-term deal that would fall somewhere in between the $11 million he would get on the franchise tag and the $16 million per year salary Christian McCaffrey got when he signed in April 2020.
“I’m not really too concerned about resetting any [running back] markets or anything like that,” Barkley said the day after the Giants’ 38-7 loss in the division round against the Philadelphia Eagles, via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “I’m realistic.”
However, teams have to be wary that Barkley does have a recent history of injuries. He played just two games in 2020 and missed three games in both 2019 and 2021. The 26-year-old returned in 2022 after two years of being derailed by ankle injuries and a torn ACL.
Barkley’s stock has never been higher, and neither has his price tag. He has also been named a finalist for the 2022 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Giants GM Sent Message on Saquon Barkley
The Giants also have to be conscious of quarterback Daniel Jones being an impending free agent.
General manager Joe Schoen, alongside head coach Brian Daboll, held an end-of-season press conference with reporters on Monday, January 23. The first-year GM addressed that the team wants to keep the 25-year-old.
“We’d like Daniel to be here,” Schoen said, via the New York Post. “He said it yesterday, there’s a business side to it, but we feel like Daniel played well this season. He’s done everything that we asked him to do.
Schoen also spoke about Barkley’s future for the first time after the season. Similar to Jones, Schoen told reporters that he will make the effort to retain Barkley, although the first-year GM made sure to mention financial barriers when asked about the running back.
“Saquon is a good player and a great teammate,” Schoen said, via NFL.com. “We would like to have Saquon back if it works out.”
“We’d like to have all the guys back, I really would, but there’s a business side to it and there’s rules you need to operate under in terms of the salary cap. You know, Saquon, he’s a good player, he’s a great teammate. I loved getting to know him this season, and he’s a guy we would love to have back. It’s just, again, we haven’t had our end of the season meetings yet.”
Extending Barkley would give the Giants an offensive foundation with him and Jones that could continue their playoff aspirations in the NFC.