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Jim Harbaugh ready to pursue Saquon Barkley, says Ryan Leaf

The former Michigan coach loves to lean on the running game

Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh as Head Coach
Jim Harbaugh
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If the New York Giants don’t want star running back Saquon Barkley any more, former NFL quarterback and current NFL analyst Ryan Leaf knows someone who does. That would be Jim Harbaugh, newly-minted head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I do think Saquon Barkley’s going to be at the top of his [Harbaugh’s] list in terms of what he wants to do at the running back position with him being a free agent,” Leaf said.

“It’s something that I know Jim Harbaugh wants to do. He wants to run the football and he wants to use those guys down the field with play action.”

Harbaugh, of course, just won a national championship at Michigan with a run-centric offense that has left NFL talent evaluators trying to figure out what to make of Wolverines’ quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

The Giants could, of course, franchise tag Barkley for a second consecutive season, this time at a cost of $12.1 million for the 2024 season.

Barkley signed an amended tag last season, has expressed his displeasure with the idea of a second tag multiple times.

Per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, the Giants and Barkley came close to an agreement last year on a deal that would have netted Barkley around $23 million in guaranteed money. They ended up just a million or two apart, but could not bridge the gap.

GM Joe Schoen said this week that he has talked to Barkley, but won’t begin negotiations on a potential Barkley contract until the NFL Combine in Indianapolis later this month.

The Giants could opt to tag and trade Barkley, or simply to let him hit free agency if they can’t reach a deal. Either way, I think we know one team that looks ready to be at the front of the line in a Barkley pursuit.