Eagles land Barkley and Huff in a stunning $180 million spending spree to start NFL free agency

Barkley is set to sign a three-year deal for $26 million guaranteed and $37.75 million overall, while Huff is getting a three-year deal for $51 million.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (left) and New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (left) and New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff. ((AP Photo/Chris Szagola and Bryan Woolston)

The Philadelphia Eagles decided Saquon Barkley was the rare running back they were willing to make a financial splash on — a move made even more rewarding by prying him away from the NFC East rival Giants.

The Eagles agreed to contracts with Barkley — long the face of the New York Giants — and former New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff, two people familiar with the deals told The Associated Press on Monday.

Barkley is set to sign a three-year deal for $26 million guaranteed and $37.75 million overall, while Huff is getting a three-year deal for $51 million, according to the people who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because free agents can’t officially sign with new teams until Wednesday.

Barkley, who tweeted two eagle emojis on Monday, hit free agency after the Giants elected not to put a franchise tag on the second overall pick in the 2018 draft. The Eagles pounced and made Barkley the highest-paid running back in franchise history, putting him on the short list of biggest free-agent signings with Nick Foles, Jon Runyan and Troy Vincent.

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Under general manager Howie Roseman, the Eagles generally have been loathe to use high draft picks or valuable salary cap space on a running back. But he seemed to hint last month at the NFL scouting combine that he could change his mind.

“Talented players end up getting paid,” he said of the running back market.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson III (43) during the second half an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Eagles have had three different players lead the team in rushing each of the last three years and declined to sign 2023 leader D’Andre Swift. Acquired by Philadelphia in a draft-day trade with Detroit last year, the 25-year-old Swift had his best season. He ran for a career-high 1,049 yards and five touchdowns and made his first Pro Bowl.

Swift agreed to a three-year deal worth $15.3 million guaranteed with the Chicago Bears, a person familiar with that deal told the AP.

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The Eagles expect to use Barkley as a three-down workhorse they haven’t seen since LeSean McCoy’s heyday ended a decade ago. He should only strengthen an explosive offense — one that propelled the Eagles to a 10-1 start in 2023 — that includes Jalen Hurts, wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert.

The Giants used the franchise tag last season on Barkley and eventually worked out a one-year, $10.1 million contract before the start of training camp. A franchise tag this year would have cost the team $12.2 million if Barkley accepted the offer.

Barkley, 27, played in 14 games last season, missing three because of a high ankle sprain. He ran for 962 yards and six touchdowns and had 41 catches, including four TDs.

Since joining the Giants, Barkley has run for 5,211 yards and 35 touchdowns. The Penn State product also has 288 receptions for 2,100 yards and 12 TDs.

Barkley missed most of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL in the second week of the season. He struggled in 2021 but regained his form the following year, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in helping the Giants get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Barkley has played in two postseason games, both in 2022.

The Giants are thin in the backfield following Barkley’s departure.

The 25-year old Huff spent the last four seasons with the New York Jets. Huff goes from undrafted to a big pay day after recording a career-best 10 sacks last season. He still needs to develop as a run defender to be more than a pass-rush specialist.

New York Jets defensive end Bryce Huff (47) reacts against the Chicago Bears during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Huff has 17 1/2 career sacks, 65 total tackles and one forced fumble in four seasons. The arrival of the 6-foot-3, 255-pound rusher could signal the end of either Josh Sweat or Haason Reddick’s time in Philadelphia.

Huff thanked the Jets and their fans in a social media post but did not acknowledge his deal with the Eagles.

The Eagles also signed two-time Pro Bowl guard Landon Dickerson to a four-year extension. The Eagles kept a key cog of the offensive line in place following the retirement of center Jason Kelce. Six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced his retirement over the weekend while defensive end Brandon Graham returned on a one-year contract.


AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

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