Both the deal for Demarco Murray and the Julio Jones deal came together after the other team had just hired a new GM.
New GMs like to clean house, get bad contracts off of the books, and draft “their guys” instead of dealing with holdovers from the last regime.
That brings us to the New York Giants who have recently made HC and GM changes. There have been rumors from beat writers and those close to the Giants, that the new regime is willing to trade almost anyone on the roster and that they are shopping Saquon Barkley around at the NFL Combine.
Now, your first assumption might be that the Tennessee Titans shouldn’t get involved with this because they need to focus on getting better at wide receiver and tight end. They can’t spend a high pick trading for Barkley, right?
Well, it turns out that he might be available for dirt cheap.
Why the Tennessee Titans should target Saquon Barkley
The latest reports from the combine are that the Giants’ asking price for Barkley isn’t a first-round pick…and it isn’t even a Day 2 pick.
If the Giants are ready to move on from Barkey and the asking price/market value for Barkley is a 4th round pick, then the Tennessee Titans should jump on the phones now.
There is no question that wide receiver and tight end need to be upgraded, but running back is crucially important for the Titans. Mike Vrabel wants the Tennessee Titans to be a run-first team regardless of who is at quarterback and more importantly, who is at running back.
Even if Tennessee had Aaron Rodgers, DaVante Adams, Ja’marr Chase, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, Mike Vrabel would hire an offensive coordinator who valued the running game and wanted to build an offense around that. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if that is your mindset you have to make sure you have a team that fits that vision.
As sad as it is, there is going to be a time when Tennessee has to consider life after Derrick Henry. Barkley is three years younger than Henry which is a lifetime in running back years, and trading for Barkley would mean that the Titans could use him as a 3rd down/supplementary option in the short-term while also using 2022 to judge whether he could be the eventual successor there.
Right now Barkley is in the final year of his rookie contract and he would cost $7 million against the cap. That is intimidating at first, but the Titans could easily fix that by giving him a “contract extension” that pays him $2 million this year with a $5 million void year in 2023.
That would lower his cap hit way down and Barkley wouldn’t lose a penny while still being scheduled to be a free agent after the season.
At his best, Barkley is a top-5 running back in the NFL who can do anything you want him to, and at worst he is an elite third-down back who can add a scary receiving element to this offense that desperately needs more weapons.
The Titans have two picks in the fourth round this year and Jon Robinson notoriously loves trading fourth-round picks. There is no team in the NFL that values their running game more than the Tennessee Titans and this feels like a match made in heaven if the asking price really is a fourth-round pick.