Saquon Barkley May Hit Free Agent Market

February 21st, 2023


So the Bucs will have a new-look offense this fall. Joe suspects that means a new running back to go along with a new quarterback.

The Bucs were the worst rushing team last season. So why bank on the two guys largely responsible for those results since, for better or for worse, Bucs coach Todd Bowles wants to run the ball more?

Joe is a big Playoff Lenny guy and also knows the Bucs are not giving up on Rachaad White. Not even close. That doesn’t mean the Bucs won’t add to the running back room.

Initially, hiring new offensive coordinator Dave Canales last week suggested to Joe there was now a green light to draft  Texas running back Bijan Robinson at No. 19. It’s not what Joe would do but Joe is only reading the tea leaves. A guy from a running offense will run the Bucs offense, and the head coach wants to run the ball. That adds up to a beefed-up running attack.

However, Joe believes Bowles wants to win now a whole lot more developing a quarterback. It’s called job security.

Joe read yesterday it appears the Giants will franchise-tag quarterback Daniel Jones. That means fellow Giants free agent Saquon Barkley, could hit free agency as the top available running back, types the creator, curator and overall guru of Pro Football Talk, the great Mike Florio.

It’s unclear what the market for Barkley would be. He has five years of NFL wear and tear, and he plays a position that results in plenty of impacts that can result in plenty of injuries. A long-term investment would come with an enhanced risk for the team that provides it.

So if you are Bowles, would you prefer an established veteran back like Barkley come to your team and bolster the offense behind Kyle Trask, or would you rather lean on two guys who carried the load for the league’s worst rushing offense in 2022?

Joe thinks if Trask is the guy behind center, the Bucs are more likely to go get a veteran running back.

Enter Barkley.

If the Bucs grab a veteran starting quarterback, say Geno Smith or Jimmy GQ, then they’d seem more likely to draft a running back like Robinson.

With the Bucs pinched under the salary cap, Joe doesn’t see enough available Team Glazer loot to buy both a quarterback and a running back.

23 Responses to “Saquon Barkley May Hit Free Agent Market”

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And so, the tradition continues. Joe’sannual push for a rb has returned!

    I said this elsewhere, and this is off topic, but I think it is unrealistic to expect a fire sale. Bowles will not hamper himself that way, and the Glazers would be wrong to fire him next year if all his goid players are taken away.

    I just don’t think it will happen.

    More realistic:
    A high value player gets traded. The best one for the Bucs to trade is not Devin White. Sorry to burst bubbles, but with Lavante David being a free agent, there is no way they trade White.

    No, best player to trade is Mike Evans. He can get us a first rounder, and his new team can work out a new deal. Bucs would only be responsible for the dead cap space left behind.

    Next? Cut Donovan Smith to save cap, then offer to resign him for substantially less.

    Then you extend Godwin and the remaining good players. Covert some iff needed.

    I do not see us extending Ryan at center…he has his own out option next year. Which, technically, would also mke him trade worthy this year. He might actually net a first rounder as well.

    I’m not looking forward to a search for a good center again, but if the Bucs play their cards right, they could go into the draft with 3 first rounders.

  2. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    Evans is not getting traded. I don’t know why this is getting pushed all over the place. Letting Evans go creates another hole that has to be filled, and you can’t say win now and trade one of your best players. Jensen also isn’t going anywhere, and he will not net you a first round pick.

    I do agree with you Bonzai that Bowles will not get fired next year knowing how the money is tied up this year and you aren’t able to grab higher tier players in FA and you’re just now trying to assemble your own coaching staff. But in year 3, that’s a different story.

  3. steele Says:

    The Bucs have needed a true feature back for a long time. Lenny and Rachaad are not. RoJo was the closest thing, but too problematic and wasn’t coached properly. The problem is that everyone will be looking at Saquon, so he’ll be priced out. After him there are a few good free agents, but only a handful of real difference makers. The place to find backs is in the draft, but Bucs blew it on Rachaad, who will be thrown into starting, even though he is far more suited to a #3 changeup receiving/gadget back than a #1. I doubt they’ll draft another.

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    Yeah. He’d probably play for the vet minimum, so, great. More money to afford bringing 83 year old Norm Snead out of retirement to QB the Toad Bowels.

  5. Goatfarmer Says:

    And if the Bucs are going to draft a RB, have some patience and go to another Texas school, A&M, and draft Devon Achane. Dude is fast, quick, strong, great vision, sees holes, creates, breaks tackles, catches well, and oh by the way, demonstrated breakaway return skills in his college career.

    The Longhorn may have the greater press, but Achane is more valuable to the Bucs.

  6. Allbuccedup Says:

    The Bucs are down two starting corners, starting safety, linebacker and defensive lineman I would be surprised if they even get another back unless its a retread for pocket change.

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer, take them down, drink them all. Then you’ll be happy but you won’t know it.

  8. Joe Swanson Says:

    Let me ask you this Joe if the running game stunk so bad why is Harold Godwin still employed here.

  9. Rand Says:

    Let’s draft a guy. Saquon Barkley is not that special anymore and there are many quality backs in the draft

  10. Logan Says:

    No. Long story short, you don’t pay top dollar for running back. Did we not just learn this from Lenny. Usually by time they hit second contract, their bodies are worn down. Better off drafting a running back every year on day 3 and finding a diamond letting them play out rookie deal. Then let them go and start another young buck. But don’t pay for a running back. Put that money in the trenches.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    IMO, Saquon is damaged goods. The guys the Bucs have currently might benefit from better, focused play-calling and dare I say it…a real FB. There’s also no need to reach for a RB. Find a guy with vision and instinct that can create their own holes.

  12. Fansince76 Says:

    i like Barkley he’s a great back however he wants too much money.
    reportedly turned down like 12 Mil a year from Giants last year.
    with our cap troubles i highly doubt that would ever happen.
    but he is a great back.

  13. darengibo Says:

    @Goatfarmer – As a lifelong Texas A&M fan, I endorse your message for Achane! He would be an awesom addition for all the reasons you mentioned, plus he is even tough after contact.

  14. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Good for him but way bigger fish to fry on this team then rb waste of time

  15. Beej Says:

    Someone’s gonna sign Barkley to a huge 3-4 year contract, then try to weasel out of it after the first

  16. catcard202 Says:

    You don’t pay RB’s 2nd contract money…It’s bad business.
    You replace said RB with Day3 rookie contract coin guys.

  17. Rga Says:

    The reason the Bucs were terrible at running the ball was poor offensive line play not the running backs.

  18. WillieG Says:

    Why would any offensive free agent come to Tampa? New OC, who has never called plays and a pathetically conservative HC who managed to have a losing season after inheriting a Super Bowl roster. Yeah, I know…injuries blah, blah, blah. Injuries didn’t make the HC play for a tie. Injuries didn’t make the head coach play to not lose. Injuries didn’t prevent the HC from putting his foot up his offensive coordinator’s backside while forcing him to actually attack a team’s weakness. Yeah, FAs won’t be coming here in droves.

  19. BucsfanFred Says:

    Barkley is like Doug Martin. One great year to start off. Then a few crap years. Then one more great contract year. Then more crap.

  20. Goatfarmer Says:

    darengibo – rally the troops. Bucs had the A-train, it’s time for the A-chain!

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Barkley IS a unique talent. But I’m sure his asking price if he does hit the open market will be like $10M per year or similar.

    White showed plenty in his rookie year and costs just over $1M per year. (for the next 3 years!)

    Is Barkley 10X better than Rachaad White? Obviously NOT.

    Paying top dollar for a “top” free agent RB in the NFL rarely makes sense once their rookie deal is completed.

    Similarly – it’s usually a bad idea to use a high (or even mid) 1st rd pick on a RB.

    What does make sense is drafting a RB with fresh legs in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rd every other year or so (when you like the value and the talent) and keep the stable full with cheap talent that way instead of over paying for a “proven” vet who has substantially more wear and tear on their body.

  22. sasquatch Says:

    Yeah, if he wants to play for 2 million, put him on the list of “maybes”.

  23. Ed Says:

    Bucs offensive issues will only be with improved blocking and more offensive linemen that play nasty like Jensen does. The soft left side of the line has been a major issue as has depth. They need to load up in the draft on offensive linemen and defensive linemen. Thats the area with the most lack of talent on the team.