Giants may have to pay some of Saquon Barkley’s salary, in order to trade him

New York Giants v Los Angeles Chargers
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The status of running back Saquon Barkley, the second pick in the 2018 draft, remains uncertain. Not long after comments from new G.M. Joe Schoen put Barkley in play for a trade, a report emerged that the Giants aren’t likely to trade him.

Barkley’s status is complicated by his fully-guaranteed salary of $7.2 million, the amount of his fifth-year option. Anyone who trades for Barkley would be assuming that cash obligation and cap figure.

And so the question becomes whether the Giants would pay some of the salary in order to facilitate a trade. In recent years, it has become an increasingly common device for unloading contracts that don’t reflect a player’s current market value, with his present team funding a chunk of the compensation in exchange for whatever the new team will surrender, typically in the form of draft picks.

The new team gets the player at a more palatable number. The old team gets some cash/cap relief and something tangible for the contract that has been shipped to a new team.

Given the broader running back market and Barkley’s injury history, no one will be lining up to take on a one-year, $7.2 million deal. They’d surely only do it for something much less. Even then, how much would they give up?

Running backs are plentiful, in every draft class. Unless a team believes Barkley will be ready to become once again the player he was early in his career, why give up, say, a fifth-round pick that could become a young running back who would arrive with a cheap (relatively speaking) contract and full tread on his tires?

It’s not Barkley’s fault that the Giants mistakenly made such a significant draft-pick investment in him. The move caused him to arrive in New York with unrealistic expectations. Given the very high risk of injury inherent to the position, picking a running back so high in today’s NFL almost always sets him up for failure, or at least the perception of it.

Barkley clearly has talent. He generated more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, starting every game. He then rushed for 1,003 yards in 2019, missing three due to injury.

Next came a torn ACL early in 2020 and a sluggish fourth season in 2021, with only 593 yards rushing in 13 games.

Could he land somewhere and have a great 2022 campaign? Absolutely. But $7.2 million is more to invest in the position than the realities of NFL economics for tailbacks would justify.

Thus, if a trade is going to happen, the Giants undoubtedly will be paying some of that money. They may end up paying all of it, and hoping that Barkley can turn the clock back to 2018.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that long ago. Within the confines of the life cycle of an NFL running back, it’s often an eternity.

14 responses to “Giants may have to pay some of Saquon Barkley’s salary, in order to trade him

  1. Gentleman should’ve been fired for the pick alone. Not for picking Barkley, for picking a RB in the current NFL 2 overall period.

  2. They were warned.

    The McCaffrey pick and deal and this one were just stupid, too.

    Do not pick an RB in the top 10 of a draft unless your team is incredibly loaded and will be loaded for years and you have a legit franchise QB in place where it becomes a luxury draft selection.

    It would be for a time that took 3-4 years to build their base slowly but surely, have a lock down franchise QB on a rookie deal for 5 years and has a need for a legit RB.

    You would just be renting RB for 4 years or so trying to win a couple of SBs in that window and then dealing the RB off after that 4th year.

    That’s it. Anyone choosing an RB well before these things occur, should not be a GM in the NFL.

  3. Mara called Barkley a face of the franchise. They’re not giving him away. With their cap issues they can’t afford to his salary to get him off the roster. Could he traded? Sure but they create another hole.

  4. Hes gonna bounce back making the Giants look foolish and some other GM/team look shrewd.

  5. Feel bad for him…Hate to see anyone ever get hurt…but this is the NFL…

    Dude no longer a #1 back…hes now a potentially amazing complementary back….but what team has THAT luxury?

    Realistically a Dummy team might trade for him..over pay….make him featured back…and he inconsistently flashes but gets hurt and becomes “just a guy” with a big name.

  6. Or a team could sign Davontae Booker, keep the draft pick, save 85%, and get the same or better production.

  7. The Giants should just keep him. There aren’t a lot of guys who ever top 2000 scrimmage yards in a season. I’d rather take the chance that he becomes a difference maker again as opposed to pay half his salary to get a fifth rounder that almost certainly won’t make a difference.

  8. Mara doesn’t know how to hire. It starts with him. It’s a fact that 70% of bussinesses passed on to their kids fail.

  9. could have had Quenton Nelson and Nick Chubb, instead you got Saquon and Will Hernandez…

  10. They only want to possibly trade him to save money. Why would they spend the money and still trade him?

  11. It’s foolish to discuss Barkley without acknowledging the fact that the Giants have been an awful team with a very poor OL, and a middling QB. Jones needs the running game in order to make things easier for the passing game, and the running game needs there to be some threat for the passing game so that the defense doesn’t just key on the run most of the time.

    It’s very rare for a RB to produce for a bad team (imagine Barry Sanders on a great team), and one player can’t carry a bad team. A RB can’t just find success out of nothing.

    I know many will talk about Barkley as a bust or how RBs are a dime a dozen, but I don’t believe either of those are true. RBs can be found, but Barkley has a ton of potential on a good team that uses him without the burden of unrealistic expectations.

    But this is how the NFL works – coaches and players become scapegoats for the failures of bad organizations. Barkley shouldn’t have been taken #2, but he still has a lot of potential left in his career.

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