Ravens get huge boost in Saquon Barkley chase after franchise tag news

Barkley could become a Raven after all.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens have been linked to many of the big names at the running back position in free agency, including Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley. While Eric DeCosta has mentioned they want to keep internal backs like Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins, both of these names could represent significant upgrades.

After the New York Giants foolishly paid Daniel Jones way above market value instead of giving Barkley the contract he deserved, those who can read the tea leaves saw that the former No. 2 overall pick was planning an escape from New York and joining a contender that could pay him well.

Baltimore makes almost too much sense as a landing spot given their need for a starting running back, history of getting quality production at the position, and cap space needed to accommodate him. The Ravens needed to hope and pray that New York didn't slap Barkley with the franchise tag.

Their prayers have been answered, as the Giants chose not to tag Barkley and let him hit the open market. Barkley can now be had by any team willing to hit his price, and the Ravens might be willing to do so as they try to get over the hump while bringing Jackson to a Super Bowl.

Saquon Barkley could join Baltimore Ravens after Giants don't use franchise tag

Barkley has continued to produce (when healthy) despite a very limited quarterback in Jones and one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Barkley has still managed over 2,900 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in those extremely adverse conditions.

Assuming the Ravens can retain Kevin Zeitler in free agency, Baltimore's offensive line will be leaps and bounds better than what the Giants had. With Jackson helping backs from Edwards to Mark Ingram getting major production boosts due to the threat his legs possess, Barkley could be in for a similar production bump.

The Ravens will need to reconcile the fact they have limited cap space with Barkley's desire to likely earn an eight-figure deal. Those fears can be outweighed by the idea of what Baltimore's offense could be with Barkley joining an offense that was already the league's best on the ground last season.

Some contender is going to pay Barkley, as names like the Texans and Chargers have already started to percolate around the rumor mill. The Ravens need to be very proactive and aggressive to make themselves as attractive as possible in the Barkley sweepstakes.