The New York Giants were the surprise of the NFL in 2022. After several years of incompetence and poor play, rookie head coach Brian Daboll finally unlocked quarterback Daniel Jones, unleashed Saquon Barkley, and wound up making it all the way to the NFC Divisional Round. Not only did the Giants make the playoffs, they went on the road and won a playoff game. Expectations were high coming into 2023.
Needless to say, it hasn’t gone as expected for Big Blue. The team is 1-5, Daniel Jones is hurt, and Barkley himself just came back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss 3 games. However, he came back last week and looked effective against the Bills. Now that the team is 1-5 and already out of the playoff race, the question is turning to what the Giants will do with their superstar running back. There’s no question he’s a fan favorite and their best offensive player, but the fact is there’s a lot of tread on his tires. There’s a reason the Giants didn’t give him a long-term deal in the offseason, after all. It’s widely accepted last year was a mirage, and that this team has a lot of work to do to return to its past glory. That must start with trading Barkley and acquiring assets. Fortunately for the Giants, many of the top teams in the NFL could use enhancements to their running back rooms. The Chiefs, 49ers, (depending on Christian McCaffrey’s oblique injury), Bills, and Ravens could all use a guy like Barkley. Other playoff hopefuls like the Browns, Steelers, or Buccaneers could be interested as well. This is good news for the Giants. Creating a bidding war would only increase the price for Barkley in a trade. It would be painful for the franchise and fanbase, but the Giants have to treat this like a business and remove the emotion from it.
They will likely decide to trade other pieces as well, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else getting the type of return Barkley would fetch. Right now, the Giants need to acknowledge this season isn’t panning out as planned, and trade Barkley and others to acquire the draft capital they’ll need to revamp the roster. Sometimes, ripping the band-aid off is the best way to go.