Bears considered ‘serious suitors’ for RB Saquon Barkley in free agency

We’re just hours away from the unofficial beginning of NFL free agency, and dots are starting to be connected when it comes to player interest and possible fits across the league. When it comes to the Chicago Bears, one player has continued to be linked as a possible option, and that is New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. That continued on Sunday morning with an eye-opening report.

According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, the Bears are considered to be “serious suitors” for Barkley’s services. He also lists the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers in that same category.

“The Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears are believed to be serious suitors. The rival Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have interest, but aren’t expected to reach Barkley’s price point. Still, they shouldn’t be completely counted out because they are, at the very least, involved.”

Raanan’s report comes a few days after Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News had the Bears tied to Barkley as well. This year’s crop of free agent running backs is as deep as ever, and Barkley is widely considered to be the best of the bunch in a list that includes Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, Tony Pollard, and D’Andre Swift. Raanan writes that the price for Barkley will be around $10 million per season, according to numerous NFL executives.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles hasn’t indicated he would be willing to pay top dollar for a veteran running back, but Barkley is a player who can be a game changer in the backfield. The 27-year-old running back is coming off a modest season in which he rushed for 962 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. He also added 41 receptions for 280 yards and four touchdowns as the Giants’ most consistent offensive player in an otherwise dreadful season.

With over $60 million in free cap space, the Bears could feasibly make a run at Barkley to improve their running game. Though Chicago was second last year in rushing yards per game (141.1), much of that production had to do with quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears would benefit from adding a player of Barkley’s caliber.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire