4 star free agents in the Cowboys range after cap surge

The increase in cap space could help the Dallas Cowboys fill several holes through free agency

Azeez Al-Shaair
Azeez Al-Shaair / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants

There was a time when this idea would have seemed laughable.

Saquon Barkley was taken second overall out of Penn State in 2018 and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He finished with more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage as he racked up 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns as a runner and 721 yards and four touchdowns on 91 receptions.

Since then, however, his numbers haven't been the same. He did still top 1,000 yards on the ground two more times (2019 and 2022) but he also dealt with injuries that limited him to 34 yards in two games in 2020 and 593 yards in 13 games in 2021.

He bounced back in 2022 but this past season had just 962 yards while averaging 3.9 per attempt. Of course, not all of that was his fault. Barkley played for a Giants offense that had no real threats at wide receiver and went through a trio of quarterbacks that included Daniel Jones, Tommy DeVito, and Tyrod Taylor.

As he enters free agency, Spotrac has Barkley's market value at just under $10 million per season. They estimate a deal of $29.9 million over three seasons, which would be an average per year less than Tony Pollard made in 2023. It would be a risk due to his injury history and they would need a decent backup to replace him should he miss time in the regular season but his upside is well worth the gamble. Especially since they would put him in an offense where he wouldn't be the one — and only — threat.