Saquon Barkley joined James Bradberry as the Giants’ top trade candidates this offseason, one in which the rebuilding team cut ties with some veterans to cut costs. That included Bradberry, released in May after a failed trade with the Texans, but Barkley remains with the team.
Trade rumors involving the former Offensive Rookie of the Year swirled for a while earlier this year, but the Giants haven’t uncovered much of a market. The Giants may have discussed potential Barkley trades, but The Athletic’s Dan Duggan notes that they were unlikely to actually buy the talented back (subscription required).
Neither offer appealed to the new GM Joe Schoenand the former No. 2 overall pick is expected to play a versatile role in Brian Dabollthe Giants’ first offense. Barkley isn’t the only New York player to be the subject of trade rumors this offseason. Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton joined him. Although the Giants don’t seem ready to offload Toney after just a year, Slayton has always been mentioned as a player who may not be on Big Blue’s 2022 roster.
None of those players posted a ceiling close to Barkley’s, though injuries significantly affected the Penn State product’s trajectory. A high ankle sprain in 2019, ACL and MCL tears in 2020 and other ankle issues last season took Barkley from a fast-track to a monster extension to a player whose future of the Giants beyond this season is very uncertain. Barkley joins Daniel Jones in that lot, but the Giants took the fifth-year option of the first (just $7.2 million) a year before declining to exercise Jones’.
Still, Barkley’s injuries and a 2021 season in which he’s averaged 3.7 yards per carry have obviously dented his stock. If it becomes clear the Giants don’t see a future with Barkley, an in-season trade – when teams wouldn’t have to pay his full salary, which doubles as the sixth carrier cap number highest ball in the league – could be in play. Of course, Barkley also has a chance to revive his value behind what could be the best offensive line he has played with. The Giants added at least three new starters, including the first-round right tackle Evan Neal and longtime Colts goaltender Marc Glowinskiand possibly made a huge caller upgrade by hiring Daboll.
Barkley’s dominant rookie season (NFL-leading 2,028 scrimmage yards, to go along with 15 touchdowns) and the fact that he’s only entering his 25-year-old season should keep the door open for a reasonable payday – s he can remain reasonably healthy this season. Barkley joins hunt kareem, Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris and Single diviner among fullbacks eligible for free agency next year. A strong 2022 would allow him to headline this class while potentially shifting the Giants’ new regime to consider a second contract.