Eagles Signs Running Back Saquon Barkley

by Marc Narducci | Mar 20, 2024
Eagles Signs Running Back Saquon Barkley
The Eagles’ signing of free agent running back Saquon Barkley was interesting on several fronts. First off, the Eagles went against their usual game plan of not paying top dollar for running backs.

According to Spotrac.com, Barkley’s three-year deal is for $37,750,000, with $26 million guaranteed. Just $1.5 million is guaranteed the third year of the deal, according to Spotrac.com, so the Eagles could realistically get out of the contract after two seasons (although there would be a dead-cap hit of $8.4 million).

It’s likely that the Eagles hope to have Barkley for all three seasons.

One reason that the Eagles changed their ways and signed a running back to such a lucrative deal is that they want to give QB Jalen Hurts every available weapon on what on paper should be a top-5 offense in the NFL.

Hurts didn’t run as effectively last season. He had a bone bruise in his knee, but the Eagles never used that as an excuse for his less than dynamic running, especially compared to the 2022 season.

Whether Hurts returns to his 2022 form as a runner, signing Barkley should take some of the pressure off the Eagles QB in the running game. And it should also be a big addition to the passing game.

Not only is Barkley an accomplished receiver out of the backfield, but he is among the top blocking backs in pass protection. At 6-foot and 232 pounds, the former Penn State star has an enviable combination of speed and power.

Was he worth the risk?


Is there still some risk?


Barkley, who turned 27 in February, has played six NFL seasons and running backs don’t usually age well. 

In addition, he suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the second game of the 2020 season.

Barkley was not his explosive self the following season in 2021, but since then, he has been among the NFL’s better backs, while playing last year behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines with the New York Giants.

In 2022 he earned his second Pro Bowl berth while helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. During that season, Barkley rushed for 1,312 yards (4.4 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 57 passes for 338 yards, but no touchdowns.

The Giants upset Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs, only to be crushed by the Eagles, 38-7, in the next round.

This past season the Giants fell to 6-11 during a year where key injuries occurred heavily in the offensive line and of course to QB Daniel Jones.

Barkley rushed for 962 yards (3.9 avg) and 6 touchdowns in 14 games. He also caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four scores. Considering the depleted offensive line he was playing behind, this was a truly impressive showing.

In six seasons with the Giants, Barkley rushed for 5,211 yards (4.3 avg) and 35 touchdowns. He also caught 288 passes for 2,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Barkley won’t have to carry such a heavy offensive load with the Eagles, since they have one of the top receiving duos in the NFL in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, plus a quality tight end in Dallas Goedert. 

On the other hand, the Eagles didn’t shell out all that money not to use Barkley. He is likely to get a minimum of 20 touches per game and the figure could be higher.

Playing behind one of the top offensive lines on a team with great offensive personnel, should make Barkley an even more effective player. 

Most of all, his addition provides a boost to an offense that simply should be explosive.

As for the defense, that’s another story, but with the addition of Barkley, the Eagles certainly have the personnel to win plenty of offensive shoot-outs next year.

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles' Twitter

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Author: Marc Narducci


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