The Buffalo Bills are on a hot streak heading into the final two games of the regular season and doing so without a strong backfield. With quarterback Josh Allen being the team’s second-best leading rusher, it’s no secret the Bills’ run game is their Achilles heel.
It’s also worrisome how much Allen is forced to run the ball himself. While he’s highly capable of taking the game into his own hands, continuously putting the team’s $258 million star in harm’s way is playing with fire.
In order to beef up their backfield next season, it appears the Bills won’t even have to cross state lines. Numerous analysts believe Buffalo should focus on obtaining the New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley.
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On December 29, New York Post reporter Mark Cannizzaro tweeted, “Just got off a Zoom call with #Giants @saquon and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him sound so unhappy as he answered questions about his struggles and his future. He sounded like he’s absolutely had it.”
The Giants letting go of Barkley used to be unthinkable. As a rookie in 2018, the Penn State alum led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,028), scored 15 touchdowns, was named Offensive Rookie of the Year, and to the Pro Bowl. Barkley’s sophomore campaign was a step back in terms of production, in 11 games, but he still showed flashes of why he was the No.2 overall pick, like his 279-yard performance against Washington in December of 2019.
Barkley’s 2020 season was a wash after he tore his right ACL at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. Unfortunately, Barkley’s 2021 season hasn’t been a prodigal return. With his knee flaring up and battling through a hamstring injury, he’s posted career lows in essentially every major statistical category.
Through 11 games, he’s averaged a personal-worst 3.5 yards per carry on 130 carries, totaling just four (!) touchdowns. A change of scenery could be exactly what Barkley needs to turn things around.
Barkley is in the midst of the fourth year of his rookie contract, earning $4.7 million on the season. Back in April, the Giants picked up his fifth-year option, which guaranteed him $7.2 million for the 2022 NFL season, per ESPN.
Rumored Reports Linking Barkley to the Bills Started in November
With rumors swirling that the Giants have their eye on obtaining quarterback, Russell Wilson, from the Seattle Seahawks, Barkley’s name started getting tossed around as the team’s best trade piece.
SB Nation’s Bruce Nolan first mentioned Barkley as a candidate to join the Bills back on November 22. Nolan tweeted, “I predict there will be at least a small movement within #BillsMafia to trade for Saquon Barkley this offseason.”
WGR 550 reporter Nate Geary also tweeted in favor of Barkley ultimately landing with an “RB needy” team such as the Bills.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported back in November that “three of the four current and former high-level executives said they wouldn’t resign Barkley to a long-term deal,” which won’t be music to Barkley’s ears.
Barkley Said He Would Not Be Sitting Out the Giants’ Final 2 Games Despite Being Out of Playoff Contention
It’s not unusual for a team to bench their most valuable starters in games that no longer matter, but Barkley made it clear he’ll be suiting up for both the Giants (4-11) last two remaining matchups.
Barkley explained on Wednesday, “Speaking personally, it’s something I had to deal with last year, missing the whole season, knowing the game can be taken away from you at any moment. With these last two games, starting with Chicago, we’ve got to come out here and fight. That’s got to be the whole theme of the team and. for each other.”
Perhaps, another reason Barkley is dead set on playing in these final two matchups is to make a few statement performances that would elevate his trade value for the offseason.
When Barkley was asked if he believes these games will also be his last in a Giants uniform, ”No, I don’t. I can’t control those things. I can’t have that thought process,” Barkley said.
“My thought process is to come in every single day and try to be a leader for the team. To get better physically and mentally, and all the above. Like I said, with these last two games, especially coming up with Chicago, try to finish on a high note and play for each other.”