Any Chicago Bears fans hoping GM Ryan Poles would make a run at New York Giants star Saquon Barkley had those hopes dashed Tuesday afternoon.
The Giants placed the franchise tag on Barkley, all but ending his ability to test free agency.
There was a general thought that Saquon Barkley was destined for the open market because of the ongoing contract negotiations between the Giants and QB Daniel Jones. Had Jones not reached a long-term deal by 4 pm EST, New York would’ve used the tag on him. The Giants got a deal done with their starting quarterback with a few minutes to spare and slapped Barkley with the franchise tag, delivering a big blow to the juice the 2023 free-agent class has.
With Barkley off the market, Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery is now one of the top two or three running backs to hit free agency. Tony Pollard (Cowboys) and Josh Jacobs (Raiders) were also franchise tagged by their respective teams.
Montgomery and Philadelphia Eagles starter Miles Sanders are the headliners.
The Chicago Bears will enter 2023 free agency with the most salary cap room in the NFL. Several splash signings are expected, with the offensive and defensive lines likely being the priority. Saquon Barkley would’ve been a luxury signing, which the Bears aren’t ready for yet. Still, a Justin Fields and Barkley backfield would’ve been a lot of fun.
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