2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Saquon Barkley
Jeffrey Becker - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Saquon Barkley

by - Senior Writer -

Every NFL offseason, you will hear a list of rumors that become true and a list of rumors that, quite frankly, are hard to believe. This year will be no different, as the 2024 Free Agent class is one of the best over the past decade and could be the best, depending on where these players end up.

When it comes to the Bears, they may not have the same amount of money that they had last offseason, but they are still in the top half of the league when it comes to financial flexibility. That alone should allow them to make at least one or two significant upgrades before adding to the rest of their roster.

One name mentioned with the Bears over the past few weeks may be a long-shot, but it is fun to think about in Saquon Barkley. Yes, that Barkley, the former top-five draft pick who has been the engine of the New York Giants offense for the better part of six seasons, is about to hit free agency and is expected to have a ton of suitors.

While it is unlikely the Bears will be one of them, just hearing their name mixed with him has to have you thinking about how fun he would be to watch in Chicago. When you look at the Bears current RB room, Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson will the main guys for next season. However, with D'Onta Foreman hitting free agency along with Travis Homer, Chicago has an RB position opening where they can add depth.

Adding Barkley wouldn't be a depth play; instead, he would be brought in to start for the Bears while pushing everyone down a peg. Talk about the best RB room in the NFL if this were to happen. Chicago led the league in rushing in 2022 and was near the top again this past season. Having Justin Fields does help with those numbers, but adding Barkley to the mix would almost guarantee that this team would be one of the best-rushing teams in the NFL.

Looking at Barkley's career, there is no question that he is one of the best RBs in the game when healthy. However, that is the biggest key as he hasn't been healthy that much, which makes him a little bit of a liability, but one worth taking a risk on. After putting the team on his back in 2022 and helping the Giants reach the playoffs, he did have a bit of a down year in 2023, as he fell just short of reaching 1000 yards for the fourth time in six years.

For the season, Barkley racked up 247 carries, 962 yards, 3.9 yards per carry, six touchdowns, 41 receptions, 280 yards, four touchdowns, and two fumbles. That shouldn't shock you when you look at the Giants offensive numbers this season as they were a terrible team and seemed to have no identity most of the season. Should they lose Barkley, look for them to continue to struggle, which is a massive reason Barkley will have a ton of suitors.

Like in seasons past, Barkley did miss time with an injury as he missed three games with an ankle this past season. That alone is the main reason he didn't reach 1000 yards, but being on the field for less than 65% of the snaps when he is active is also a factor. Although RB may not be a pressing need for this team, the Bears could use an RB capable of being a workhorse, especially since David Montgomery is now succeeding in Detroit.

Herbert has shown the ability to be a starter, but he has yet to prove to be the workhorse the Bears need, and with the potential of Caleb Williams landing in Chicago, adding a workhorse back could be huge. With Chicago having close to 70 million dollars in cap space to work with, adding Barkley would be a financial situation they could take on as he is expected to land a contract with an annual salary of 10 million.

That is way more than what the Bears tend to spend on RBs, but that is a bargain price when you look at what he can do on the field. This is the best offseason in some time to need a playmaking running back, given the number of big names set to hit the open market. Barkley is the perfect fit for a team looking to change its offensive identity and get back to the postseason.

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