Eagles Shouldn’t Be Tempted by Saquon Barkley in Free Agency amid Latest NFL Rumors | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Giants RB Saquon BarkleyJim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles head into free agency with numerous needs, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. After starting last season 10-1, Philly experienced an epic collapse, finishing the year 11-6 and ranked 30th in points allowed.

While defense should be the top priority for the Eagles, they’ll also be in the running back market. D’Andre Swift, Boston Scott and Rashaad Penny are all headed to market.

Adding two-time Pro Bowler Saquon Barkley to the backfield is an idea that might intrigue many Philadelphia fans—and to an extent, general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Eagles are among teams interested in Barkley, though perhaps not at the top of the list:

“The Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears are believed to be serious suitors. The rival Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have interest, but aren’t expected to reach Barkley’s price point. Still, they shouldn’t be completely counted out because they are, at the very least, involved in the running back market.”

There are plenty of other reasons to be intrigued by Barkley, who remains a dangerous dual threat when healthy. Even in a down year, this past season, Barkley was one of league’s better all-around offensive playmakers.

Though he was limited to 14 games and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, the 27-year-old still amassed 1,242 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns.

There would also be some benefit to plucking Barkley away from the rival New York Giants and keeping him away from the rival Dallas Cowboys.

However, there are reasons to be concerned about Barkley’s future too. He’ll turn 28 before next offseason and has a significant injury history that followed him throughout his NFL career.

Barkley was a rookie Pro Bowler, a 1,000-yard rusher in Year 2 and returned to the all-star game in 2022. He failed to reach 1,000 rushing yards in each of his other three seasons, though, and he’s appeared in more than 14 games only twice.

Despite those concerns, Barkley is likely to be very well compensated on the open market. He has a projected market value of $9.9 million annually, according to Spotrac, and that may actually be low with so many teams interested.

It’s Barkley’s likely price tag that should have the Eagles targeting other avenues for filling their backfield.

While Philadelphia is projected to have $40.7 million in cap space, it can’t afford to commit a quarter or more of its available salary room to a running back with a very uncertain playing future.

The Eagles need help at linebacker, cornerback and safety, and filling those needs with quality talent won’t be cheap. Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson, for example, just inked a new four-year, $76 million extension.

Finding a reliable third receiver and a replacement for recently retired center Jason Kelce should also be on the Eagles’ to-do list.

Philadelphia can find a serviceable running back at a team-friendly price—and the market is set to be headlined by Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry with the likes of Gus Edwards, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Jerick McKinnon serving as potential bargain alternatives.

Re-signing Swift, who was a Pro Bowler in his first season with the Eagles, would also be logical, though Philadelphia may be hesitant to take that route too. A year ago, the Eagles allowed Pro Bowler Miles Sanders to leave in free agency and watched him sign a four-year, $25.4 million contract with the Carolina Panthers.

The Eagles weren’t willing to overpay for a running back last offseason, and they shouldn’t be eager to do it this year—not when filling other needs on a budget would be much more difficult.

None of this means that the Eagles shouldn’t kick the proverbial tires on Barkley. If, for some reason, he becomes available on a low-risk “prove-it” deal, then signing him could make sense. That appears unlikely, though, and the Eagles shouldn’t be tempted to chase him based simply on his upside or potential impact on the NFC East.

The reality is that Barkley is an injury risk, and likely an expensive one at that. He should not be among Philadelphia’s priorities early in free agency, as the Eagles should firmly focus on other needs first.

First appeared on bleacherreport.com

Leave a Comment