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New York Giants expected to let Saquon Barkley test NFL free agency: 4 logical destinations

It seems that the divide in negotiations between the New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones will have collateral damage that allows their Pro Bowl running back to test his value in NFL free agency.

The New York Giants rolled the dice last offseason by letting both QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley play out the final year on their rookie contracts. While uncommon, the move was universally supported because of the injury history and inconsistent play of both athletes. However, each was pivotal in their surprise run to the NFC Divisional Round and earned major pay increases in 2023.

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However, with only one franchise tag per team, the expectation was that New York would place it on Barkley and negotiate a long-term deal with their starting QB. However, on Monday Pro Football Talk reported that with Jones looking to get more than what the Giants have offered he is now expected to be franchise tagged in 2023. Which will have a major effect on Saquon Barkley.

4 teams that will target New York Giants star in NFL free agency

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Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Jones decision will now mean the Giants have to shuffle their offseason roster plans and allow the two-time Pro Bowler to hit NFL free agency next month. With Barkley’s stock as high as it’s been since his rookie year, we look at the four teams likely to make a hard push to sign the 26-year-old.

New York Giants

Just because Barkley will hit free agency doesn’t mean the New York Giants won’t try and re-sign him. As one of the teams with a great deal of salary cap space this offseason, they will surely use it to try and maintain the roster that was playoff caliber in 2022. Barkley was an extremely important element of their offense, and he could be hard to replace. Expect the team to be major players in his free-agent market.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have a boatload of cash to spend this offseason and Barkley is an ideal fit. They were a dominant rushing offense last season, and Justin Fields took some major steps forward at quarterback with his arm and legs. A case could be made that a Fields and Barkley combo in 2023 could be as dynamic as Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders were running the ball for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in 2022.

new york giants
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are another team flush with cap space this spring. With the organization expected to take a QB with their top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there is no better aid to a young signal-caller than a talented running back who can also serve as a safety valve in the passing game. Barkley would be huge in making the transition to the NFL far easier for either CJ Stroud or Bryce Young in year one.

  • Saquon Barkley stats (2022): 295 rushes, 57 catches, 1,650 total yards, 10 touchdowns

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots will have a new offensive coordinator next season, and an unclear QB situation. However, bolstering the running game — a part of the offense that has long been a weakness in New England — would be a smart way to steady the unit and get them back on track. Furthermore, as a New York native, staying close to home to work with a legendry head coach in Bill Belicheck would certainly appeal to the New York Giants star.

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