Ravens curiously have best odds to land RB Saquon Barkley in 2023

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

This comes way out of left field: Giants running back Saquon Barkley has the best odds of signing with the Baltimore Ravens assuming he leaves New York.

The Ravens already have two talented backs in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but Vegas, for whatever reason, seems to think they will add one more.

If Barkley leaves the Giants, Baltimore is the favorite to land the superstar back with +400 odds; the Buffalo Bills are one step behind with +425 odds followed by the Denver Broncos (+500) and the New York Jets (+600).

‘Tis the season of rampant speculation, so seeing Barkley’s name linked to the Ravens isn’t the craziest notion. Despite moving on from offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the Ravens will likely stick to a run-first offense in 2023, and signing Barkley would give the team a bonafide No. 1 workhorse back.

This is not to say Dobbins isn’t capable of assuming that role. Dobbins rushed for 91.8 yards per game in his last five games back from surgery and appeared unhampered by his nagging knee injury.

Dobbins didn’t receive many carries in the Wild Card round due to the Ravens’ game script rather than his own health issues, and barring any setbacks, the 2020 second-rounder should be good to go in 2023.

Besides, if one wants to bring up Dobbins’ injury history as an alarming concern, Barkley’s record isn’t much better.

Ravens listed as top landing spot for Giants running back Saquon Barkley

The Barkley-Ravens rumors are more predicated on the possibility of Lamar Jackson leaving Baltimore. Acquiring Barkley would allow Baltimore to continue running the ball at an efficient rate as they continue to develop the passing game with whoever unfortunately has to fill Jackson’s shoes.

Following two injury-plagued campaigns, Barkley, a 2018 first-round pick, ran for a career-high 1,312 yards and scored 10 touchdowns this season, adding 57 catches for 338 yards.

He and Daniel Jones at times carried the entire Giants’ offense, one that in fact shares several similarities with that of the Ravens. Both have middling outside target options. Both have a dual-threat quarterback (and recency bias would suggest that Jones has been better than Jackson in 2022).

In terms of his fit in the Ravens’ offensive scheme, Barkley would be a dream come true.

In terms of the logistics of acquiring him, Barkley is just that — a dream.

This offseason, the Ravens have more urgent areas of concern at wide receiver and cornerback and have every intention of extending Lamar Jackson or at worst placing a franchise tag on him. Even if Jackson were to leave, the Ravens aren’t the type of team to start handing out top-dollar contracts to lure players to Baltimore.

In the case of the massive Roquan Smith extension, Smith essentially got a trial run to see if he was a good culture fit for the Ravens. He was, and the Ravens paid him handsomely.

Baltimore proved they weren’t stingy by extending Smith; instead, they’re almost infuriatingly logical about financial decisions.

Barkley reportedly turned down a deal worth $12 million per season and is likely gunning for top-of-the-market money on par with Christian McCaffrey’s league-leading $16 million average salary.

As the cautious and calculated decision-makers they are, the Ravens aren’t going to fork over that much when they have two reasonably healthy and productive backs under contract already.

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Any NFL team would be lucky to have Saquon Barkley in their running back room, but when it comes to the Ravens, they just don’t need him.