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Eagles shouldn't be tempted by Saquon Barkley in free agency amid latest NFL rumors | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats and Rumors

Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Giants RB Saquon BarkleyJim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles head into free agency with plenty of needs, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. After starting last season 10-1, Philly suffered an epic collapse, finishing the year 11-6 and ranking 30th in points allowed.

While defense should be the Eagles' top priority, they will also be in the running back market. D'Andre Swift, Boston Scott and Rashaad Penny are all heading to market.

Adding two-time Pro Bowler Saquon Barkley to the backfield is an idea that could intrigue many Philadelphia fans and, to some extent, general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles.

According to ESPN Jordan Raananthe Eagles are among the teams interested in Barkley, but perhaps not at the top of the list:

“The Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears are said to be serious suitors. The rivals Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are interested, but are not expected to reach Barkley's price tag. Still, they are not expected not be completely excluded because they are, at the very least, involved in the running back market.”

There are plenty of other reasons to be intrigued by Barkley, who remains a dangerous dual threat when healthy. Even during a down year last season, Barkley was one of the best offensive playmakers in the league.

Even though he was limited to 14 games and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, the 27-year-old still amassed 1,242 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns.

There would also be some benefit in taking Barkley away from his rival New York Giants and away from his rival Dallas Cowboys.

However, there is also reason to be concerned about Barkley's future. He will turn 28 before next offseason and has a significant injury history that has followed him throughout his NFL career.

Barkley was a rookie Pro Bowler, a 1,000-yard rusher in year two and returned to the All-Star Game in 2022. He, however, failed to reach 1,000 rushing yards in each of his three more seasons, and he appeared in more than 14 games only twice.

Despite these concerns, Barkley will likely be paid very well on the open market. Its projected market value is $9.9 million every year, according to Spotrac, and that might actually be low with so many teams interested.

It's Barkley's likely price tag that should prompt the Eagles to target other routes to fill out their backfield.

Even though Philadelphia should have $40.7 million in cap space, he can't afford to spend a quarter or more of his available salary cap space on a running back whose playing future is very uncertain.

The Eagles need help at linebacker, cornerback and safety, and filling those needs with quality talent won't come cheap. Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson, for example, just signed a new over four years, $76 million extension.

Finding a reliable third receiver and replacement for recently retired center Jason Kelce should also be on the Eagles' to-do list.

Philadelphia can find a serviceable running back at a team-friendly price – and the market should be dominated by Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry along with Gus Edwards, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Jerick. McKinnon serving as potential bargain alternatives.

Re-signing Swift, who was a Pro Bowler in his first season with the Eagles, would also make sense, although Philadelphia may also be hesitant to go that route. A year ago, the Eagles allowed Pro Bowler Miles Sanders to leave in free agency and saw him sign a over four years, $25.4 million contract with the Carolina Panthers.

The Eagles weren't willing to overpay for a running back last offseason, and they shouldn't be eager to do so this year, not when filling other needs on a budget would be much more difficult .

None of this means the Eagles shouldn't kick Barkley's proverbial tires. If for some reason he becomes available on a low-risk deal, then signing him could make sense. That seems unlikely, though, and the Eagles shouldn't be tempted to pursue him simply based on his upside or potential impact in the NFC East.

The reality is that Barkley is an injury risk, and a likely costly one at that. He is not expected to be among Philadelphia's priorities as free agency begins, as the Eagles should first focus firmly on other needs.

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