Not so long ago Saquon Barkley was viewed as a cornerstone of the New York Giants organization. A blue-chip prospect out of Penn State, the Bronx native quickly took the league by storm. As a rookie in 2018, Barkley led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,028), earning a Pro Bowl nod along the way. His sophomore campaign wasn’t as prolific, yet he still flashed his brilliance from time to time, such as his franchise-record 279-yard performance against Washington in December of 2019.
However since then, not much has gone right for the now-24-year-old Barkley. His 2020 season was essentially a wash, suffering a torn ACL after just five quarters of play. As far as how his return to the gridiron this season has gone — fans calling for him to be benched in favor of journeyman veteran Devontae Booker about sums it up.
With Barkley set to enter the final year of his rookie deal in 2022 and Giants football collectively in the dumps, speculation of the running back being shown the door this offseason has begun to pick up steam.
Bills Urged to Make Trade for Barkley
One team in particular who has commonly been linked to Barkley is the running back-needy Buffalo Bills. And by the looks of it, we can only expect the buzz of a potential pairing between the two parties to build over the next few months.
Back in late November, long-time NFL analyst Bruce Nolan tweeted that he predicted there to be a “movement within Bills Mafia” to trade for Barkley this offseason. Spoiler alert: The movement is underway.
Fans and Bills beat writers alike have come out of the woodwork to back the idea of No. 26 making the move upstate.
One fan appears to be operating under the notion that Barkley to Buffalo is already a done deal and is just hoping the Giants running back makes it through the remainder of the season healthy.
Nate Geary, who serves as the Bills’ pregame & halftime show host for WGR 550 seems open to the idea of pursuing Barkley.
Apparently, the trio of Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Matt Breida doesn’t categorize as an “X-Factor.” Barkley, on the other hand…
And one more to really jab at the current state of the Giants organization. In response to a tweet from the New York Post detailing the team’s likely change at general manager this offseason, one Bills fan responded asking Dave Gettleman to gift wrap a Barkley trade to Buffalo for a comically bad return.
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Barkley to be a Hot Commodity on the Trade Market?
Barkley’s struggles in 2021 have been well documented. Coming off the ACL and battling a lingering ankle injury, Barkley is on pace for 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. Furthermore, he’s totaled just four touchdowns and hauled in only 38 receptions (tied for 16th among NFL running backs) — a far cry for a guy who set an all-time rookie running back receptions record with 91 receptions just three years ago.
Still, I’d warn against hopping on the anti-Saquon bandwagon that is currently gaining steam in New York at the moment. Another offseason removed from surgery and potential upgrades at offensive line and quarterback (whether that be with the Giants or elsewhere) could easily lead to Barkley making his doubters eat his words.
This isn’t a Todd Gurley situation — at least yet. Chances are there would be at least a handful of franchises willing to gamble on the former superstar.
“Barkley will only be 25 in 2022, and fully healthy, he remains one of the most imposing playmakers at his position,” CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin wrote, who named Barkey an early trade candidate to be moved this offseason. “The problem is, he hasn’t been or looked in mint condition for at least two years. And he plays one of the most replaceable roles in the NFL,” wrote Benjamin. “If he can rest up and get in shape after the season, maybe someone would be enticed by making him a reclamation project. The Giants, meanwhile, primed to rebuild again post-Dave Gettleman, would save $7.2 million by saying farewell.”