Although some have deemed the Patriots a place no player or coach wants to be anymore, they remain among the list of favorites to land several of the top free agents this offseason. A new name is added to the list, courtesy of sports gamblers, who have New England in the top ten most likely suitors for running back Saquon Barkley.
The 26-year-old has spent the first six years of his career with the New York Giants, earning two Pro Bowl nods, recording over 1,000 yards on the ground and in the passing game every year that he's been healthy. He is now set to enter free agency for the first time and joins a handful of some of the best running backs in the league potentially looking for a new home.
And according to bettors, the Patriots have a 12-1 chance of signing him.
New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots
Because it seemed like the Giants may not be all that interested in keeping him long-term, hence the franchise tagging him for the 2023 season, it's fair to assume he will be looking to sign elsewhere this offseason. It may not be the ideal scenario, as he seems to have enjoyed his time (mostly) with the Giants, but if they're unwilling to give him a contract he deserves, he will find a team that will.
The problem he may run into is that guys like Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, and D'Andre Swift will also be free agents, creating more competition for Barkley on his journey to a new team.
The Patriots would be a good fit, as he would play alongside Rhamondre Stevenson and could split reps rather than carrying the entire team. He would undoubtedly be an upgrade over Ezekiel Elliott, who didn't exactly flourish last season, but it all depends on how much money he's seeking and if he'd prefer to go to a contending team for the first time in his career.
Of course, New England's odds aren't great to sign Barkley, but most of the teams with a better chance aren't necessarily in a better position. So that could work in their favor. But paying running backs has been a hot topic in recent years, with many players voicing their opinions about feeling disposable at the position, which could also impact Barkley's value.
Running backs are essential, regardless of what anyone says. They play a pivotal role in almost every offense and are often the sole reason an offense thrives, especially for quarterbacks with questionable decision-making. Because the Patriots are in a questionable period at that position, bringing in a guy of Barkley's caliber would be a great move, but not one we should get too excited about happening.