Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley to the Bears? It’s a fun idea that’ll never happen

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles will be the king of free agency next March when the Bears enter the NFL’s spending spree with the league’s healthiest salary cap. And with so much money to spend, it makes sense that the Bears will be attached to the highest-profile free agents, like this week when Chicago was connected to New York Giants’ superhuman running back Saquon Barkley.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano served a softball to Bears fans when he speculated — that’s the key word here, speculated — that Chicago would be an interesting fit for Barkley, whose pricetag may exceed what the Giants are willing to spend on a running back.

“I think when people speculate on Saquon – if he’s not back with the Giants, they’ll want to put him on the top offenses, as an accent piece in Buffalo, or in Kansas City a place like that,” Graziano said. “But, it would be interesting to see him in a place like Chicago if they want to build it out from the run game and lean on that with Justin Fields as he develops.”

Interesting? Sure, but that’s about it.

The Bears are on pace to break the NFL’s team rushing record in 2022, thanks in large part to the dynamic play of QB Justin Fields. Running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert have a lot to do with the running game’s success too, and there’s no reason to think Chicago is desperate for an upgrade at that spot on the roster.

Montgomery, like Barkley, is playing on an expiring contract. His salary demands will be a fraction of Barkley’s. With his standing as a team leader and culture guy, Poles would likely prefer bringing Montgomery back on a team-friendly deal than breaking the bank on a superstar at the position.

The more likely reason Barkley-to-the-Bears doesn’t make sense is the presence of Herbert. The second-year back was close to unseating Montgomery as the starter before injuring his hip in Week 10. He still has two years left on his rookie contract and will give the Bears a high level of production at the cheapest price. That’s a win for any team, let alone one trying to add players at premium positions like the offensive line, pass rush, and wide receiver.

If Herbert’s season is over, he’ll finish the year with 108 carries for 643 yards and four touchdowns. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry — legitimate yards per carry — compared to Barkley’s 4.5.

There are very few players as dynamic and game-changing as Saquon Barkley. There’s no denying that. But the odds he becomes a Chicago Bear with all the more pressing issues on the docket are slim to none.

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