The New York Giants are headed for changes this offseason. Could trading Saquon Barkley be on the list?
The New York Giants dropped to 4-8 this season with a 20-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, as the offense continues to be stuck. Quarterback Daniel Jones missing the game with a neck injury didn’t help, but running back Saquon Barkley also hasn’t really gotten going since returning from his latest injury (11 carries for 55 yards; six catches for 19 yards on Sunday).
Barkley is under contract through next season via the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. He’ll make $7.217 million, but contract extension talks may be going on and speculation over to what extent the Giants should commit to Barkley is natural.
The general manager who drafted Barkley second overall in 2018, David Gettleman, is on his way out even if it’s going to be framed as a retirement after the season. Joe Judge has shown few if any signs that he’s a capable head coach, so he may be out after two seasons. A decision on Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023 is also coming in the offseason.
Should the Giants trade Saquon Barkley?
Trading Saquon Barkley this off-season would free up $7,217,000 in cap space while costing the #Giants $0 in dead cap.
— Giants Daily (@NYGDaily) December 6, 2021
As noted above, the Giants can trade Barkley in the offseason and clear $7.217 million in cap space with no dead money left behind. Letting Barkley play out his fifth-year option next season and then leave in free agency is also an option, but it makes more sense to try to get something for him if possible.
As banged up as he has been over the last couple seasons, he still won’t turn 25 until Feb. 7 and he remains a top talent when healthy.
Even as teams have been painted into a corner to do it for some guys (Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook of recent vintage), paying a running back big long-term money is generally a bad way to allocate cap dollars.
Among the changes the Giants have coming this offseason, a decision on what to do with Barkley is naturally on the list once who will fill the leadership positions in the organization is decided. Trading him is an option, and there should be a market.