There’s a clip from Kay Adam’s new show going around where Boomer Esiason says the Giants need to trade Saquon Barkley.
He’s not wrong. As talented as Saquon Barkley is, this is his peak and it’s a peak that will be short lived. Running backs don’t last in the NFL. History has proven that from 27-29 running back production starts to dip and it’s often a rapid decline. We’re seeing that dip right now with Derrick Henry. A lot of it has to do with injuries, draft age, and total touches.
Saquon Barkley is 25 and will be 26 next year. You can get 2 more seasons out of Barkley before he hits that 28 wall and that’s if Barkley avoids injuries – which is something he hasn’t done through his first 5 seasons. The Giants also give Saquon the ball a lot. There’s a lot of wear and tear on those legs.
I know you’re thinking 26 is young – but not for a running back. Running backs age more rapidly than dogs. If 1 human year is 7 years for a dog and the average dog lives 10-13 years, than 1 human year is 9 RB years when the average RB lifespan is 8-10 years.
Saquon, entering the 6th year of his career next year, will actually be turning 54 in RB years. Which is why the Giants can’t extend him. His RB lifespan is quickly nearing it’s end.
Here are some examples of the running backs falling out their prime:
- Jamaal Charles saw his rushing total drop from 1,287 yards at 27 to 1,033 at age 28. He never rushes for 1,000 yards again.
- Chris Johnson rushes for 1,243 yard at 27. His rushing total drops to 1,077 yards at age 28 and then he never rushes for 1,000 yards again.
- Arian Foster rushes for 1,284 yards at age 28 and then plays just 8 more total career games.
- DeMarco Murray rushes for 1,287 yards at age 28 then rushes for 659 yards the following year before his career was over.
- Le’Veon Bell and Toddy Gurley both played their best football before the age of 25 and weren’t even starters after.
- Shaun Alexander rushes for 1,880 yards at 28 and then never hits the 1k mark again.
- Maurice Jones-Drew rushes for 1600 yards at age 26 and then never told 805 yards again in his career.
On top of all that, 72% of the leagues leading rushers since 1990 are 26 or younger – Saquon will be 26 next season. This is his peak.
If the Giants were a Super Bowl ready team, trading Saquon would make no sense. But they’re not and likely won’t be during Saquon’s prime. With a young QB likely on the way next season – trading Saquon for assets to help move up for that QB or add young talent around the QB isn’t a bad decision. Extending Barkley would be.