New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley won’t attend mandatory minicamp, according to multiple reports. Barkley hasn’t signed the franchise tag, which is scheduled to pay him a fully-guaranteed $10.091 million in 2023.
Barkley doesn’t appear to have an intention to sign the tag. Barkley and general manager Joe Schoen are involved in a contract-related standoff. Barkley could threaten to sit out the 2023 campaign.
The Giants currently lack the depth to absorb Barkley’s potential absence. Schoen drafted former Oklahoma running back Eric Gray in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell are also on the roster. A run-heavy Giants team would need to acquire a more talented running back if Saquon Barkley sits out.
We’ve identified three running backs the Giants could consider trading for.
CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs appear prepared to hand the starting job to sophomore running back Isiah Pacheco. Pacheco was one of the league’s most surprising rookie performers. The seventh-rounder rushed for 830 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a first-year contributor. By comparison, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for just 302 yards and was limited by injury to 10 regular-season appearances.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has already declined the fifth-year option on Edwards-Helaire’s contract. Edwards-Helaire is now scheduled to enter a fate-deciding season. His future isn’t in Kansas City. With Jerick McKinnon also in the fold, the Chiefs could trade Edwards-Helaire while still maintaining depth at the position.
JAMES CONNER, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort is preparing for the future. Ossenfort released DeAndre Hopkins from his contract just weeks ago and, during the 2023 NFL Draft, Ossenfort traded for the Houston Texans’ 2024 first-rounder. The Cardinals are a strong bet to possess two top-five picks in next year’s draft. Would the Cardinals consider drafting Caleb Williams or Drake Maye?
Starting quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to miss a significant portion of the regular season. The Cardinals also have a first-time head coach in Jonathan Gannon. The Cardinals won’t contend for a playoff spot in 2023. It makes holding onto James Conner somewhat unnecessary. The aging Conner won’t be with the Cardinals when their rebuild is complete. Ossenfort should consider getting assets for Conner while he still can.
ZACK MOSS, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
If the Giants aren’t seeking to make a significant splash ala Edwards-Helaire or Conner, Zack Moss could represent a low-cost alternative option. Moss spent a significant amount of time in Buffalo with Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. Schoen and Daboll were influential in the Bills’ decision to spend a 2020 third-round selection on Moss. Since taking over the Giants, Schoen has acquired various ex-Bills. Familiarity could make Moss a target.
Moss is currently with the Colts, where he projects as a backup to former rushing champion Jonathan Taylor. But the Colts also drafted Evan Hull with a fifth-round pick in April. Drafting Hull could make Moss expendable. Moss could provide the Giants with some much-needed insurance.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023