After injuries decimated the Ravens’ running back unit in 2021, the Ravens are set to make a huge comeback with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards returning to the field. The two young and talented backs are excellent in their own right, but the Ravens could use extra depth at the position.
Baltimore made wise preseason moves by signing veterans Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman to fill out the roster, and the team may very well seek cheaper free agents on the open market again in 2022.
Should Baltimore want options other than the draft or free agency, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has made waves as a potential trade piece this offseason.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport wrote about a handful of NFL stars on trade watch and proposed that Barkley could surprisingly end up on the Ravens:
"“[Jeramy] Fowler listed the Buccaneers and 49ers as potential suitors, and given the Baltimore Ravens’ reliance on the run and the injuries that destroyed their backfield in 2021, they also seem like a good fit.”"
Barkley is due roughly $7 million on a fifth-year option with no long-term deal yet, and the Ravens could theoretically absorb his salary.
The Ravens could trade for Giants running back Saquon Barkley
But at what cost? The Ravens would likely need to fork over decent enough draft capital for the former 2018 No. 2 pick, capital that could be used to address more pressing needs like the offensive and defensive lines.
On top of that, coaching changes in New York seem to gesture toward faint optimism in Barkley’s future, according to the running back himself, that is.
Barkley loved the “energy” and “conversations” he had with newly appointed head coach Brian Daboll and expressed excitement about his role in the Giants’ offense in 2022.
Questions remain whether the Giants’ front office feels the same after Barkley has heavily disappointed in the last three seasons due to injuries, missing 21 games in that span.
His inability to stay healthy could cause New York to test the trade market this offseason, but teams may not be willing to empty their pockets for an injury-prone running back like Barkley.
If it’s just depth that Baltimore needs, the team could simply re-sign Devonta Freeman, who will come at a much cheaper price.
The cons may outweigh the pros of trading for Saquon Barkley given Baltimore’s already stacked running back room and roster needs in other areas. However, don’t count on Barkley donning the purple and black this year.