Saquon Barkley Free Agency Predictions: Landing Spots Include Chargers, Texans, Eagles

After six seasons with the Giants, Saquon Barkley is unlikely to be tagged again and is set to hit the open market. What are some potential landing spots?

The 2023 NFL season is over and in the rearview mirror. Now, 2024 NFL free agency is quickly approaching, as the new league year officially starts on March 13. Before that, though, there’s the franchise tag deadline.

One candidate for the tag this year is New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. However, it’s being reported he likely won’t be tagged and is going to hit the open market. What are some possible landing spots for him?

Saquon Barkley Free Agency Landing Spots

Barkley’s career with the Giants has seen tons of ups and downs due to injuries. After missing most of two seasons in 2020 and 2021, Barkley had 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022, the final year of his rookie contract. He also had 2,310 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2018 and 2019.

Despite that, he didn’t get a long-term deal. After reportedly being offered a three-year contract and turning it down, Barkley was franchise-tagged. The tag led to a holdout, which resulted in a one-year $11 million deal that kept him in town for one more year.

In 2023, Barkley had a down year, rushing for just 962 yards and six touchdowns on 247 attempts, a 3.9 yards per carry average. He’s now set to hit the market once again, and this time he’s actually going to see it.

According to the New York Post, the Giants aren’t expected to place the tag on Barkley again in 2024.

Jim Harbaugh and Los Angeles Chargers Reportedly Interested In Barkley

One of the top fits for Barkley could be the Los Angeles Chargers, who will have an opening at the position thanks to Austin Ekeler being an impending free agent. With Ekeler likely hitting the open market, the Chargers will have just Isaiah Spiller and Elijah Dotson on the roster at RB.

The Chargers hired former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh as their new team leader, and Harbaugh then hired Greg Roman as the team’s offensive coordinator. Both coaches are known for their offenses featuring strong running games.

MORE: Top Free Agent Running Backs

Former Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf, who works for ESPN and is friendly with Harbaugh, has openly said multiple times that the Chargers would love to have Barkley in their backfield.

“Austin Ekeler is a big part of what could be, with them running the football, but I do think that Saquon Barkley is going to be at the top of his list in terms of what he wants to do with the running back position,” said Leaf. “A guy that they’re looking at is Saquon Barkley,” Leaf reiterated, doubling down on the idea on the Bleav in Chargers podcast.

Could Barkley Be C.J. Stroud’s Next Weapon on the Houston Texans?

The Houston Texans are another team that’s been rumored as a landing spot for Barkley. In the team’s first year with C.J. Stroud at QB, the Texans significantly over-performed, winning the AFC South and a playoff game. Stroud passed for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He won AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in the process.

However, the Texans will likely see their lead running back, Devin Singletary, hit the open market. In his one season with the Texans, Singletary had 216 attempts for 898 yards and four touchdowns, contributing significantly to the team’s offense.

The team does have Dameon Pierce, who rushed for 939 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie in 2022, but he lost his starting job in 2023 and doesn’t fit the Texans’ current scheme as well as Singletary did. In 2023, Pierce had just 145 attempts for 416 yards and two touchdowns, resulting in a 2.9 yards per carry average.

“I think the running game will be significant for us to improve upon,” said head coach DeMeco Ryans. “I think as you see as you go throughout this game, especially in the postseason, teams that win games — you’ve got to be able to run the football and sustain it. And we weren’t able to accomplish that versus the [Baltimore] Ravens, and it showed up.”

Could the Philadelphia Eagles Go Three Consecutive Years With New RBs?

Finally, there’s the Philadelphia Eagles once again in the market for a running back. The Eagles spent the last two seasons with two different running backs leading the way. In 2022 it was Miles Sanders, and in 2023, it was D’Andre Swift.

The Eagles have found success in the ground game with a variety of different runners due to the high-level offensive line the team deploys. However, adding an elite-caliber player could take things to the next level.

Swift, who just had a career year rushing for 1,049 yards and five touchdowns on 229 carries, is set to be a free agent in 2024. Additionally, both Rashaad Penny and Boston Scott are both impending free agents, leaving just Kenneth Gainwell on the roster.

It’s very possible that the Eagles could just re-sign Swift and run it back, but there’s no guarantee they won’t look to upgrade. According to DraftKings, the Eagles have the fifth-best odds to land Barkley at +1800, notably behind both the Texans (+275) and Chargers (+400).

Saquon Barkley’s Market Value, Career Stats, and More

At 27 years old, Barkley has six years of NFL experience after being drafted second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite two seasons limited by injury, Barkley has rushed for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,201 attempts with a 4.3 yards per carry average.

Barkley suffered a torn ACL in 2020 and a low-ankle injury in 2021. Those injuries left him only playing in 15 games over that two-year stretch.

MORE: 2024 NFL Free Agent Rankings

Having rushed for over 1,300 yards twice in his career, Barkley is a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Those two seasons came in 2018, his rookie season, and 2022, his first full season back from injury.

Spotrac gives Barkley a market value of just under $10 million per year, projecting that he receives a deal somewhere around three years for $29.9 million — that’s 209th in the NFL as a whole and seventh when it comes to just running backs.

Saquon Barkley Career Stats

  • Carries: 1,201
  • Receptions: 288
  • Total yards: 7,311
  • Total touchdowns: 47

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