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Saquon Barkley
New York Giants

Could The Giants Really Trade Saquon Barkley?

  • Justin Melo
  • February 7, 2022
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With the NFL draft and free agency periods fast approaching, the New York Giants are preparing to enter a crucial offseason. A new regime has officially arrived via general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, who both made their way to East Rutherford via the Buffalo Bills organization in late January. Schoen and Daboll replaced Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge, who both failed to develop the Giants into consistent winners. Schoen and Daboll must now begin constructing their 2022 roster with a shared vision in mind. The Giants require upgrades in several personnel departments, but some spring cleaning is first required. The now-retired Gettleman left New York's salary cap situation messy, and Schoen reportedly aims to clear $40 million in cap space this offseason. It represents a hefty number, and Schoen certainly has his work cut out for him as he sets out to achieve that goal. Several high-profile players such as receiver Sterling Shepard and cornerback James Bradberry qualify as release and/or restructure candidates, but the Giants' efforts will have to get creative and extend well beyond those two players. Should Schoen look to truly turn the Giants' roster on its head, look no further than a potential Saquon Barkley trade, which Schoen would be wise to explore. The former Penn State standout is entering a contract year following Gettleman's decision to exercise Barkley's fifth-year option. Barkley is currently set to earn $7.2 million in 2022, and the two sides are extremely unlikely to reach an agreement on a long-term contract extension. Releasing Barkley doesn't qualify as a viable option. Barkley's salary is fully guaranteed for 2022 and cutting him wouldn't score the Giants any financial savings. Should the Giants trade Barkley, however, the acquiring team would inherit his fully guaranteed salary while providing the Giants with some much-needed breathing room. Schoen and Daboll helped build a perennial winning program in Buffalo without the presence of a notable (and expensive) running back. Given their background, Schoen and Daboll are extremely unlikely to view Barkley as a crucial member of the Giants going forward. In addition to potential philosophical differences, Barkley isn't under contract past 2022, and is not expected to remain in New York past the upcoming season. Barkley's perceived trade value around the league is a different conversation altogether. Barkley possessed high-level traits coming out of Penn State and was viewed as a generational talent by many. It hasn’t gone to plan. Several injuries and performance-related issues have handcuffed Barkley throughout the first four years of his professional career. Barkley appeared in 13 of a potential 17 games in 2021 while averaging a career-low 3.7 (with a minimum attempt qualifier) yards per carry. It was a disappointing follow-up to a 2020 campaign that was cut short after just two games due to a season-ending knee injury. Barkley has failed to play a full season since his rookie year. Barkley's less-than-desired outputs can rightfully be blamed in part on issues outside his control. The Giants have failed to secure adequate quarterback or offensive line play throughout his tenure, but Barkley's reputation has undeniably taken a hit all the same. An ever-important offseason looms large and Schoen is full-steam ahead on a much-needed rebuild. Part of Schoen's process will include parting ways with holdovers from the previous regime. Should the Giants find a willing trade partner, the time to move on from Barkley is now.

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Justin Melo