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    Saquon Barkley next NFL team odds: Pro Bowl running back will not get franchise tag from Giants, favored to land with Texans, Chargers, Cowboys

    The New York Giants will not use the franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley.
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    The deadline for NFL teams to place the franchise tag on a player is Tuesday afternoon, and the New York Giants have opted not to use it on Pro Bowl running back and former Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley for the second straight offseason, meaning he will hit free agency for the first time in his career. SportsLine offers odds on his next team, and there's nothing stopping the Giants and Barkley from still working out a deal, but that would be a bit unusual once a player hits the market.

    Teams can begin negotiations with free agents next Monday at noon ET and players can officially be signed by new teams next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, which is the start of the new league year. It's going to be a massively crowded running back market with the likes of Barkley, Tony Pollard (Cowboys), Austin Ekeler (Chargers) and former NFL rushing champions Derrick Henry (Titans) and Josh Jacobs (Raiders) all available. Barkley, Pollard and Jacobs were all tagged last offseason but will now hit the open market.

    The 27-year-old Barkley had a spectacular 2022 season, staying healthy for the first time in years to help the Giants make the playoffs. But the former second overall pick again struggled with health in 2023 and Big Blue regressed to 6-11. Barkley carried 247 times for 962 yards (3.9 yards per carry compared to 4.4 in 2022) for six TDs. He also caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four scores. Barkley missed three games with a high-ankle sprain suffered in a Week 2 win over the Cardinals.

    It would have cost the Giants $12.1 million to tag Barkley for the 2024 season, and Barkley's numbers were not worth that. New York can still re-sign. At the NFL Combine last week, New York GM Joe Schoen said "[Barkley]'s a guy we'd like to have back." The NFL salary cap will rise to a record $255.4 million next season, which currently affords the Giants about $38 million in cap space.

    Houston is a rising power in the AFC behind Rookie of the Year QB CJ Stroud. The Texans won the AFC South for the first time since 2019 despite entering 2023 as the longshot in the division. However, they were 22nd in rushing at 96.9 yards per game and were one of 11 teams to average less than 100 yards per game. Devin Singletary was a nice surprise overall but is a free agent, and he's not in Barkley's class. Outside of Singletary, the Texans averaged 3.1 yards per attempt. That would have been last in the league by far.  Houston currently has the sixth-most salary cap room in the NFL.

    If not Houston, perhaps the other Texas team could sign Barkley, as the Cowboys will most likely have to replace Pollard and don't have a true featured back on the roster otherwise. Jerry Jones is practically desperate for a Super Bowl at this point after yet another too-early playoff exit. Dallas would have to work some salary cap magic. ESPN's Mike Tannenbaum, a former Jets GM, called Barkley "a perfect fit" for the Dallas backfield.

    New Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh is all about building a strong running game first and foremost, and Ekeler is not expected back in Los Angeles. Right now, the Bolts have only Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller as tailback options.

    I'm a Bears fan and honestly don't see GM Ryan Poles going after Barkley, but Chicago does have a ton of cap space and maybe Poles wants a veteran in the backfield next to rookie QB Caleb Williams, the expected first overall pick. One can never rule out Baltimore as John Harbaugh loves collecting running backs, and Barkley could perhaps reunite with former Giants teammate Odell Beckham Jr.

    Barkley, priced +5000 at FanDuel to win 2024 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, is from Pennsylvania and played at Penn State, and Eagles leading rusher D'Andre Swift is a free agent. The Eagles typically don't spend much money on the running back position, however. Minnesota recently cut former No. 1 RB Alexander Mattison, while Cincinnati may do the same with Joe Mixon. 

    Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which will be Saquon Barkley's next team?

    • Texans Even
    • Chargers +300
    • Cowboys +500
    • Giants +600
    • Bears +900
    • Ravens +1000
    • Eagles +1200
    • Vikings +1500
    • Bengals +2000
    • Panthers +2500

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