Eagles GM is convinced that they found a big difference maker in Saquon Barkley

Philadelphia Eagle’s Saquon Barkley talks to the media during a press conference after signing with the NFL football team, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

It’s not usually a surprise when the Philadelphia Eagles make a big splash during free agency. More times than not, that sort of splash is tied to a defensive player instead of an offensive playmaker. This offseason, the Eagles made two big moves when the tampering period began. They signed EDGE Bryce Huff to a big contract then followed that by making an eye-opening move.

Philadelphia went on to win the bidding war over RB Saquon Barkley. It’s not a very common move for the Eagles to make as the last time they spent big on a RB was when they signed DeMarco Murray, which didn’t pan out as expected. Even so, Philly chose to invest in the former number two overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. The method to the madness was simple, the Eagles saw more than just a running back when it came to Barkley. They saw a “difference-making player” and also a “difference-making person.”

Saquon eagles

Howie Roseman joined Adam Schein this week to further elaborate on the decision to sign the 27-year-old running back. The Eagles GM mentioned, “It’s hard to find difference-making players and people, and it’s hard to find them for a cost, those guys, they go for a lot of money, and we felt like there was an opportunity to get one of those guys in Saquon and bring him to the team…”

We understand that there’s risk in every decision you make, but we don’t think there’s any risk on the talent. We don’t think there’s any risk on the person. And we also feel like maybe, not that it wasn’t anywhere else, but we have a good situation here with us in Philly to kind of maximize him. I don’t think there’s anyone when he came out of the draft that didn’t think he wasn’t a Hall of Fame-caliber talent and person. He’s still young, and we’re really excited to have him.”

The Eagles needed a running back due to the instant departure of D’Andre Swift, who oddly enough was the first player off the board as soon as the tampering period began. But the need was greater than just having an every-down back who could run the ball and make plays. Philly has struggled to find a back that could be multidimensional.

Saquon brings everything that Howie and the Eagles want in an offensive weapon. As the Eagles GM mentioned in his interview, Saquon has a “unique ability to play on all three downs and has the skill set to not only run between the tackles, break things outside, get to the second and third level, run over guys, run away from guys, pass protect, run routes, and those are hard things to find.”

The Eagles & Saquon are a perfect fit

The key component there is pass protection. The Eagles had to rely on Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott to be their blockers in the backfield at times as Swift struggled to do so. There are even rumors stating that the reason Rashaad Penny never saw the field was due to his inability to pass block as well. Gone are those days as the Eagles have now found the Swiss Army knife of their dreams.

The same could be said for Saquon Barkley who is leaving a team that has been oddly structured and joining a franchise that prioritizes building within the trenches. Barkley is going from a team that ranked 30th in run blocking to a team that has the third-best unit in the league when it comes to run blocking. So while his highlights with the Giants are filled with big home run plays, there’s a high chance that his moments with the Eagles could be far greater.


Barkley is coming off a season where his pass-blocking grade was a career-high at 76.6. After rushing for 1,426 yards in 2022, he was only able to rush for 962 yards in 2023 on 247 attempts as opposed to the 313 attempts he received in 2022. He struggled mightily behind the Giants’ offensive line in 2023 as Barkley only had one game in which he finished with more than 100 rushing yards. 

Unfortunately, that came at the cost of 36 attempts in one in which he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. To put in retrospect on how great of a situation he will be in with Philly, when focused on running the ball the Eagles maximize the talent of their running back. In the last two seasons, both D’Andre Swift and Miles Sanders finished with career years in rushing yards as they both crossed the 1K rushing yard mark.

Sanders averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2022 while Swift averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2023. This leads to the idea that this may be where Barkley’s Hall of Fame potential is finally tapped into. While the jury is still out until week 1 of the 2024 season, the speculation on the Eagles’ newest addition will continue to be high as the team’s Super Bowl expectations continue to grow.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola