NFL Insider Names Bears Top Spot for All-Pro Playmaker in 2023: ‘Imagine’

Saquon Barkley

Getty Saquon Barkley is set to be an UFA in 2023.

Saquon Barkley would look pretty good in a Chicago Bears uniform.

The New York Giants running back currently leads the NFL in rushing with 931 yards (he’s averaging 103.4 yards per game) and he also has 197 yards receiving. The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Barkley is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. If he continues on his current pace, he could be demanding a pretty penny next year.

The 25-year-old running back made a splash his first season in the league, winning Rookie of the Year honors while getting named a first-team All-Pro. He finished with 1,307 rushing yards, 721 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns that year and followed it up with a second 1,000-yard season in 2019.

A devastating ACL tear in 2020 cut his season short, and he didn’t quite look like himself in 2021, his first year back since the injury. This season, however, Barkley has been one of the league’s most explosive players and has been looking better than ever — and one top NFL insider thinks the Bears could be a surprise landing spot for the playmaking RB in 2023.

Dan Graziano: Imagine a Justin Fields & Saquon Barkley Combo

On the November 17 episode of ESPN’s “Get Up,” NFL insider Dan Graziano says it’s “not a lock” that Barkley will remain with the Giants next year.

“The Giants have a lot of work to do on their roster in spite of their record,” Graziano said. “I believe they’d like to bring Saquon Barkley back, but I also think there’s probably a number beyond which they won’t go, and that would make him a free agent able to sign elsewhere.”

Graziano listed one team in particular as a potential landing spot for Barkley next season: the Bears. “You have Justin Fields, who’s obviously already there — imagine the two of them together and what that run game would look like, and how potentially explosive,” Graziano said, adding: “It would be interesting to see him at a place like Chicago.”

“Get Up” co-host Mike Greenberg called the possibility of Barkley heading to the Windy City “very intriguing,” and he’s not wrong. The Bears are currently averaging over 201 yards per game on the ground, by far the most in the NFL. In addition to Fields, who is currently sixth in the league in rushing, there’s also Khalil Herbert, who is averaging 6.0 yards per carry (third in the NFL) to consider. Herbert just went on injured reserve, but he is currently 10th in the NFL in rushing (644 yards). Picturing Chicago’s backfield with the addition of a player like Barkley is almost mind blowing.

How Much Money Could Saquon Command in 2023?

Spotrac has Barkley’s market value at $11.8 million per year, behind the likes of Christian McCaffrey ($16 million per year), Alvin Kamara ($15 million per year) and Dalvin Cook ($12.6 million per year).

If that’s at all close to what Barkley wants to get paid, he’d be worth it — and the Bears could oblige. Chicago is set to have more cap space in 2023 ($125 million) than any other team by a wide margin. Considering how questionable the wide receiver market will look next year, adding a player like Barkley — who could also contribute to the passing game — wouldn’t be a bad thing for Fields. Stay tuned.

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Chad Carlstead
Chad Carlstead
10 months ago

If we were contending and that was the missing piece to push them over the edge, sure…but were not contending, so it would be a foolish waste that money on a RB with significant tread and has had injuries.