The Green Bay Packers could be in the market for a running back this offseason.
They reportedly had "legitimate interest" in trading for Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Jonathan Taylor earlier this season. If AJ Dillon leaves in free agency this offseason, the need for running back help will increase.
Green Bay shouldn't overpay at the running back position and almost certainly won't. But if an opportunity to land a game-changer at a reasonable price becomes available, they should take it.
Packers could land free agent Saquon Barkley in reasonable deal
The Packers are fully aware of how talented Saquon Barkley is. He has rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games against Green Bay.
He could become available at the start of the new league year. According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, there's a good chance the Giants will let Barkley "test the open market."
And Barkley's contract could be more affordable than you might think. Pro Football Focus projects he will sign a two-year deal worth an average of $11 million per year. While that salary would rank eighth among running backs, it's significantly less than Jonathan Taylor's new contract. A two-year deal would also take a lot of the risk away from the Packers' perspective.
The upside? Massive. A backfield featuring Barkley and Aaron Jones would present a nightmare scenario for opposing defenses, especially when they also have to prepare for Jordan Love and the Packers' explosive passing attack.
Signing a free-agent running back isn't typically a move the Packers would make, but their interest in Taylor shows they are open to making a bold move.
And general manager Brian Gutekunst hinted at being more aggressive in free agency this year.
"I do feel whatever opportunities are out there to improve our team in free agency, we'll be able to do that, so I feel good about that," said Gutekunst. "This is about winning and trying to win a championship. If it's something that makes sense, we'll do it."
Unlike last season, when the Packers had limited cap flexibility and entered a period of uncertainty without Aaron Rodgers, they are now at the beginning of a new Super Bowl window with Jordan Love.
If Barkley hits free agency and is available for a deal similar to PFF's projection, the Packers should consider making him an offer.