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Will Saquon Barkley stay with Giants? If he enters NFL free agency, here's a list of teams

INDIANAPOLIS - Saquon Barkley stole the spotlight from the quarterbacks at the Combine six years ago, putting on a show at the event that serves as the ultimate job interview for NFL prospects.

With this year's festivities kicking off Tuesday, there is a chance Barkley will command the spotlight from the quarterbacks in the Class of 2024, only this time with the Giants' star running back on the verge of hitting free agency and still plenty of debate over his uncertain future with Big Blue.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen told reporters at the Senior Bowl last month that he expected to meet with Barkley's representatives here at the Combine and they would discuss the next steps and whether a reunion is on the table. He confirmed that again here Tuesday, and the two sides will undoubtedly jockey for negotiating position. Perhaps the Giants' stance will become more evident over the next week or so.

There's no question the topic of where Barkley will play in 2024 and beyond is on the minds of many around the league with potential suitors being speculated about with the Giants not expected to use the franchise tag to keep him off the market for the second straight year.

Schoen did not rule out using the tag Tuesday, and indicated the higher-than-anticipated salary cap number of $255.4 million for the 2024 season makes that more of a possibility that it may have been earlier. Barkley's cap hit would land around $12 million if tagged.

Schoen mentioned CAA agent Ed Berry, who has taken over as Barkley's primary representative, and the relationship he and the Giants have with Berry. The sides should get a better sense of where each stands between now and when the Combine finishes up Sunday.

"I think we've all grown, Saquon, myself, the organization, through the last 12, 13, 14 months," Schoen said. "Saquon may be in a different place now than he was then in terms of understanding the market and the business side of it. I'm looking forward to having those conversations with him."

So here's a look at the where and why for Barkley:

New York Giants' Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec., 30, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants' Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec., 30, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Dallas Cowboys

What if Jerry Jones wants to steal the star from the Giants? Tony Pollard signed his franchise tag and the Cowboys won the NFC East, but if Jones watches his team flame out in the postseason, is it that absurd to think he'd fawn over Barkley the way he did Odell Beckham Jr. last year?

NY Giants star running back Saquon Barkley is on the verge of becoming a free agent with the new league year beckoning. Could Big Blue stomach the decision if Barkley ends up elsewhere?
NY Giants star running back Saquon Barkley is on the verge of becoming a free agent with the new league year beckoning. Could Big Blue stomach the decision if Barkley ends up elsewhere?

New York Giants

Watching Barkley engage with those around him, there is still a possibility he and team brass can work out a contract for next season. It's hard envisioning Schoen changing the stance too much, and while Barkley has admitted he wondered what his market value would be, his plea to be a Giant for life remains. The franchise tag would actually give Barkley about a $2 million raise, but it’s unlikely the Giants go that route.

Could Barkley and the Giants reach a handshake agreement of sorts to circle back with any offers he receives on the open market? That's certainly makes some sense, and Barkley told the New York Post that he would be open to something like that in the right situation.

Philadelphia Eagles

Virtually his entire hometown of Coplay, Pa., roots for the Eagles. Philadelphia had D'Andre Swift in the fold and he had a very good year, but he's also an unrestricted free agent. Could Barkley provide a spark if the Eagles continue to struggle in the playoffs? Would Saquon be motivated by getting a crack at the Giants twice a year with the team he barely beat?

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were the top seed in the AFC and Lamar Jackson won his second MVP. Odell Beckham Jr. is a free agent, but wouldn't it be something if Barkley and Beckham reunited in Baltimore? That would be hard for some Giants fans to stomach.

Los Angeles Chargers

Ryan Leaf made some headlines on social media when, as a guest host on "Good Morning Football," the former NFL quarterback predicted that new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh was going to make a play for Barkley. This wasn't delivered as news, but that doesn't stop the cycle.

So how would Barkley fit in Los Angeles? Well, he'd certainly bring star power. Pair him with Justin Herbert and the Chargers might just have a tandem Harbaugh could use to jumpstart his plan. Of course, the Chargers have had Austin Ekeler with Herbert and have failed to live up to expectations in the past.

Houston Texans

Ah, everybody loves the new darlings of the NFL. DeMeco Ryans has things cooking in H-Town, C.J. Stroud is coming off a fantastic rookie season and maybe the Texans are poised to take another leap. Toss in the speculation on social media that Barkley is suddenly following members of the Texans on Instagram - spoiler alert: players follow players on other teams - and, well, now we've got a narrative. We'll find out before too long if there is any truth to it.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Saquon Barkley and NFL free agency: What if Giants say goodbye?