The Jim Harbaugh effect appears to be already helping the Los Angeles Chargers. With Harbaugh in as coach, the Chargers are expected to become a more attractive destination for free agents.
One player who has already expressed being open to joining the Chargers is New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who is slated to become a free agent in March.
Barkley cited Harbaugh and his prior success as a reason that the Chargers would not be a bad landing spot for him.
"I have nothing but respect for Coach Harbaugh, obviously the success he had in the NFL before, playing against him in college," Barkley told Kay Adams. "If the opportunity were to present itself, I definitely wouldn't be against it.
In addition, Barkley revealed he is a 'fan' of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, which could also be key if the Chargers do decide to pursue Barkley.
"I'm a big fan of Justin Herbert, I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL," Barkley said to Kay Adams.
Of course, Barkley may not be able to have his choice of destinations if the Giants place the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. The Giants franchise tagged Barkley in 2023 and did not extend him a long-term deal. To compromise though, they add $2 million in signing bonus to his contract, allowing Barkley to make up to $11 million.
If the Giants don't tag Barkley again, it would allow the two-time Pro Bowl running back to test the open market. The Chargers current top running back, Austin Ekeler, is also expected to become a free agent. Though Harbaugh has expressed a desire to keep Ekeler with the Chargers, they could try to pursue Barkley if he becomes available.
Though Barkley likely wants a big contract, it certainly would be tempting for the Chargers to bring him in. Barkley is one of the most talented backs in the NFL,