Friday, March 24, 2023

Five Reasons Why The Bears Should Sign Saquon Barkley


A week ago, the rumor popped up that the Chicago Bears might be a destination to watch for All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley. It was a bit shocking at first. Most would assume the star would stay with the New York Giants. Yet insider Dan Graziano isn’t so sure of that. Not with the Giants’ cap situation and other pressing needs. It would make for a fascinating case study of current NFL business practices. When faced with the idea, most people had the obvious reaction. Chicago won’t sign Barkley because it makes no sense.

That’s the typical reaction. Signing big-name running backs seems like a major taboo these days. However, there are reasons to believe it isn’t so crazy for a team like the Bears. There are several reasons it makes schematic sense and even financial sense.

Here are five reasons to help explain.

Why adding Saquon Barkley isn’t as crazy as you think.

1. They can afford it

Standard NFL procedure is you don’t pay running backs big money. It’s a passing league, and no position tends to wear down faster. However, the Bears are in a somewhat unique spot. Thanks to a series of cost-cutting measures by Poles, the team is currently projected to hold $125 million in salary cap space next off-season. Think about this. The highest-paid running back in football is Christian McCaffrey at $16 million per year. If the Bears paid that to Barkley, they’d still have $109 million in cap space left to do whatever they want. So unlike most cases, they can absolutely afford to pay the running back big money.

2. David Montgomery is a free agent

The former 3rd round pick has been a good player for the Bears since he arrived in 2019. Some people would prefer having him back. However, that would require a new contract. Montgomery is solid, but he’s not the level of talent you tend to pay significant money for. Khalil Herbert proved as much by outrushing him for most of this season. If he is gone, the team has to fill that void. If you’re going to do it, you might as well go after a significant upgrade in talent, which Barkley is. He can do everything Montgomery does, but better. He is more explosive, a more significant receiving threat, and every bit as good as a pass blocker.

3. He’s only 25

This is something that can’t be understated. Barkley will be 26 years old next year. If the Chicago Bears signed him to a four-year contract, he would become a free agent before his 30th birthday, when most running backs tend to fall apart. Look at recent examples. Frank Gore’s last great year was at age 29. Adrian Peterson’s was at 30. Mark Ingram’s was 30. Top running backs are a reasonably easy investment to predict. Barkley should have four top seasons left in him after 2022. That makes signing him to a big contract a calculated risk. Presuming he avoids any major injuries, he’d be good for the length of his deal.

4. His presence would make Justin Fields better

It’d be one thing if the Bears were a passing team just looking for a presence on the ground. That isn’t the case. The running game is their identity, and Fields is a massive part of it. His mobility has gashed defenses all year, and part of the reason is the team’s ability to run the ball. Think about this. Barkley’s presence in New York has a profound impact in that way. In 2020 when he missed most of the season, quarterback Daniel Jones rushed for 423 yards and a touchdown. This year with Barkley healthy, Jones already has 437 yards and four touchdowns in ten games. Imagine what Fields might do to defenses with Barkley a constant threat to house it on every carry.

5. Leadership

Matt Eberflus talks about holding yourself and your teammates to a high standard when you step into Halas Hall. That is something players have embraced since the head coach took over. Saquon Barkley wasn’t that kind of player when he arrived in New York. He was quiet and just tried to play well. Things have changed. He’s taken on a more vocal role this season, and it’s been having an effect. The Giants are playing with more swagger and confidence, and their star running back is leading that charge. Getting something like that on top of the talent would be great.


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Nov 25, 2022 5:02 pm

Can we stop speculating about the Bears signing Saquan? That would be the most inefficient use of cap-space. I’m not saying Barkley wouldn’t be good, but that kind of pickup is for a team that has nothing at RB. In FA we need to focus on O-line, D-line, WR (although FA is thin at WR), and maybe a LB. Than in the draft, #1 priority is WR and then filling the gaps you couldn’t fill in FA.

Nov 25, 2022 7:58 am

If they’re really going to prioritize signing a running back with all the other more pressing needs they have, they should go after Josh Jacobs instead. He’s better. But, somehow, I don’t see this as much of a need. Running backs aren’t as highly valued as they used to be…sort of like the off-ball LB.

Last edited 3 months ago by GrinBearIt
Nov 25, 2022 7:37 am

Or, the Bears can trade back 10 spots, get a bunch of extra good picks aa well as pick up a better, younger, cheaper RB in Bijan Robinson.

Keith Lis
Keith Lis
Nov 25, 2022 6:41 am

No, no, no, no, and NO

Nov 24, 2022 6:49 pm

poles is building through the draft- has anyone been listening?

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