The LA Chargers need to add depth to the running back room behind Austin Ekeler and perhaps the team could do it with one of the biggest names in the entire league, Saquon Barkley.
New Giants general manager Joe Schoen said that he is willing to listen to calls for just about anybody on the roster, raising the question of if the Giants would trade the former first-round pick. Barkley has not panned out as expected in New York and playing under his fifth-year rookie option in 2022.
The Giants should definitely not want to sign Barkley to a new big deal after the 2022 season so if they can cut bait with him now and get draft capital in return then that might be best for the future (as well as the team's dreaded salary cap).
Barkley does not seem to make a lot of sense on the surface for the LA Chargers but that did not stop Keenan Allen from raising the speculation around the Bolts potentially trading for him. Allen had one simple response to the report that the Giants could listen to phone calls for Barkley which says it all.
Obviously, Keenan Allen is not the one making phone calls for the LA Chargers but it is not a small deal that one of the team's biggest star players took his time to directly tweet about another player who could be traded. We have already seen Derwin James do his best recruiting on Tyrann Mathieu this offseason. This appears to be Keenan's attempt at Barkley.
Barkley would certainly give the Chargers the most dynamic 1-2 punch at running back in the league if he were to stay healthy. The New Orleans Saints really perfected the craft of having two elite running backs with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and Joe Lombardi could, in theory, create an even better version of that with Ekeler being Kamara and Barkley being Ingram.
The trade cost of Barkley is not going to be high, either. Although he is a big name, he is still a running back with injury risk. Every Giants fan in the world would roll their eyes at this, but the fact of the matter is that the team would be blessed to get a fourth-round pick for Barkley. Even the desperate teams in the league are more likely to draft an early running back than trade a third-round pick or earlier for one year of Barkley.
Saquon Barkley still makes no sense for the LA Chargers, despite Keenan Allen's tweet.
While on paper the idea of trading a fourth (or even fifth) for Barkley to create this dynamic duo with Austin Ekeler is fun, it simply is not practical for the LA Chargers. The draft pick really is not even the hang-up here. With four compensatory picks, the Chargers should absolutely be willing to trade a fifth-round pick for someone who could have an immediate impact on this team.
That person should just not be Barkley. The injury concerns are real and we can say "if he stays healthy" all we want but that is actually not going to keep him healthy. The Bolts would be putting all their eggs in one basket for an injury-prone running back to be the RB2 when they already have a great RB1 as is.
His salary is not completely over-bearing but the $7.2 million is not small. Could the Bolts afford it? Sure. But it is going to keep the team from spending in other areas. Heck, there are Charger fans who think $16-18 million for Mike Williams is way too much. How can the team justify spending over $14 million on the running back room alone?
Keenan Allen can tweet about it all he wants. The LA Chargers are not going to trade for Saquon Barkley — if they are smart, that is.