What’s potential landing spot for RB Saquon Barkley after Giants’ franchise tag refusal?

The New York Giants faced a challenging season, finishing 6-11 in the NFC East. With the playoffs constantly slipping out of reach every season, the team now faces a crucial offseason. Whether it is strengthening the roster through strategic signings or refining their gameplay strategies, the team’s success hinges on diligent preparation and cohesive teamwork.

The Giants are already grappling with uncertainties regarding their quarterback Daniel Jones. The team has now found itself in another roadblock after refusing to use the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley.

Giants not using franchise tag means Saquon Barkley hits free agency

The Giants’ decision not to use the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley has set the stage for him to explore free agency. The team resorted to the franchise tag last year after failing to secure a long-term contract agreement. The tag for running backs entering the 2023-24 season stood at $10.1 million, escalating to $12 million this season, per Bleacher Report.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen acknowledged that the franchise tag was still a consideration, given the rise in the NFL salary cap. However, both parties were actively pursuing a contract extension. Barkley expressed his desire to remain with the Giants but acknowledged the pragmatic reality of the business of football, stating, “loyalty means nothing.”

Injuries have plagued the RB’s career, but he showcased resilience by playing in 30 games over the last two seasons. He accumulated over 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in each campaign. The veteran rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns last season while contributing significantly in the passing game with 41 receptions for 280 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.

With Saquon Barkley heading towards free agency, the Giants’ RB room now features Eric Gray, Jashaun Corbin, and Matt Breida. The impending free agency market is rich with veteran RBs, including Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, and Austin Ekeler.

Potential landing spots for Saquon Barkley

One intriguing destination for Saquon Barkley is the Houston Texans. Despite a relatively recent resurgence led by head coach DeMeco Ryans and young quarterback CJ Stroud, the team could benefit from the RB’s dual-threat abilities in both rushing and receiving. His addition could bolster their offensive arsenal and provide a reliable target for Stroud.

The Philadelphia Eagles also emerge as a contender. Despite limited cap space, the Eagles present Barkley with an opportunity to join a team poised for a Super Bowl run. He could play a crucial role in their resurgence after Jalen Hurts and Co. suffered terribly in the postseason.

Saquon Barkley
via Big Blue View

The Cincinnati Bengals emerge as another potential suitor, armed with ample cap space and a pressing need to upgrade their rushing attack. After ranking last in rushing yards per game in the previous season, the Bengals could greatly benefit from Barkley’s explosive playmaking ability.

Quarterback Joe Burrow is going to recover from his season-ending blow and start strong in 2024, and Barkley’s addition could further solidify their status as a Super Bowl contender next season.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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