Chargers Linked to Star RB on Eve of Free Agency

The Los Angeles Chargers have been linked to a top running back on the eve of free agency.

Feb 1, 2024; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at an introductory
Feb 1, 2024; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at an introductory / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Chargers will head into free agency with a few key areas of their roster to address. Running back is one of them, as longtime starter Austin Ekeler is expected to depart.

While Ekeler and his free-agent peers prepare to officially negotiate with teams, the Chargers have been linked to another big-name running back.

ESPN reporter Jordan Raanan published a column on Sunday addressing the market of New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley. According to Raanan, Los Angeles is "believed" to be a "serious suitor" for the two-time Pro Bowler.

This latest news adds to the buzz connecting Barkley to the Chargers. Oddsmakers think this could be a pairing in free agency, and so do some NFL analysts.

Considering Jim Harbaugh's run-first approach at Michigan, it'd be no surprise if he prioritizes adding a premier talent this offseason in some way. Of course, the expectation has been that'd be in the draft, with Wolverines alum Blake Corum providing one option.

Barkley, though, would be the type of addition to jump-start this offensive rebuild. He has been the lifeblood of the Giants' offense for the better part of the last six seasons, so he could have a Christian McCaffrey-like impact in LA where he'd be supporting a top quarterback instead of carrying an entire unit.

Considering the clear interest in Barkley, however, it won't come cheap to add him to the Chargers' backfield. Raanan says the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears are among the "serious" pursuers, while the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have been rumored as well.

Spending big on a free-agent RB is more of a luxury than a necessity, so Los Angeles must consider the cost and weigh if a rookie could provide similar production for much less.

In other Chargers news:

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change