In what was one of the biggest moves during the NFL offseason, Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley is starting to get adjusted to his new team after spending six seasons with his former squad in the NFC East rivals New York Giants. The process to get assimilated started by forming an off the field rapport with his teammates before he builds those relationships when on the gridiron such as with Eagles stars Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown.

There is no doubt that the Eagles heavily boost their offense with the acquisition of Barkley as while D'Andre Swift produced in that offense, the former Giant brings an explosiveness and elusiveness few have in the league along with pass-catching abilities. His skill-position teammate in Brown has seen first hand the skills Barkley holds since they have been in the same division and said “I'm glad he's on my team” according to Tim McManus of ESPN.

“He's an incredible running back. I watched him over the years. I'm glad he's on my team,” Brown said. “What I saw [during offseason training], him pushing teammates in the weight room, that gets me excited because honestly … if I can get a guy like that who's going to come to work every single day and working hard, that's all that matters.”

Jalen Hurts cites Barkley's leadership as a standout for the Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley speaks during a press conference after signing with the team.
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a tumultuous career thus far for Barkley as while he's had some great seasons under his belt, the Penn State product has also dealt with injury spells, which Philadelphia hopes does not happen as they signed him to a three year, $37.75 million contract. However, if one thing is for certain, they got a great leader in the locker room which is a trait that the star Eagles quarterback in Hurts noticed right away during organized team activities or abbreviated as OTAs.

“Even in the short time of us having OTAs, you hear about the type of person he is, the type of leader he is in the room, the energy he brings to a room and that's something that I appreciate already — just us competing in sprints or competing on the squat rack and things like that where we're challenging one another — those are the things that set the thermostat for what the team is supposed to follow,” Hurts said.

Barkley played in 14 games last season as he rushed for 962 yards to go along with six touchdowns and through the air, he caught 41 passes for 280 yards and four scores. He would say after a recent practice that the experience of getting used to a new team makes him “feel like a rookie again” as he is trying to buy “into the culture” of the Eagles.

“It's like a fresh start. I feel like a rookie again,” Barkley said. “Getting to know everybody in here, learning the culture, buying into the culture and feeling like it's home.”

Barkley starting to get comfortable with teammates on the Eagles

It already seems like the bonding with his new teammates is working as he expressed that he has been playing golf with some of the players including the offensive lineman as the relationship between them and a running back is vital for Philadelphia. However, he would say his “golf buddies” are Eagles quarterbacks Will Grier and new player himself as well in Kenny Pickett, former first round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I've been golfing with a lot of guys, golfing with O-linemen,” Barkley said, “but my golf buddies right now I would say are [quarterbacks] Will Grier and Kenny Pickett. Kenny is just picking it up. Shoutout to Kenny. He broke 100 for the first time and he just started like two, three months ago so that's a big accomplishment. But those two … we're kind of golf fiends right now.”

Barkley had electric seasons with New York like in 2022 where he rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns while in the passing game, he caught 57 passes for 338 yards. His best numbers in the passing game came in his rookie season where he had 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 1,307 rushing yards that year.

Now, he joins a team with an arguable upgrade at every position on offense like Hurts, Brown, DeVonta Smith, and an effective offensive line, a group that Barkley is impressed with.

“That's not a bad group to be out there with,” Barkley said with a smile per ESPN. “And that's not even including the offensive linemen.”

Eagles offensive coordinator calls Barkley a “premier running back”

If there is one person that is excited to see how the team plays, it is for sure Eagles offensive coordinator Kellen Moore who now has what he calls “a premier running back” in Barkley. While people know the 27-year old running back's vital traits, Moore also appreciates the ones that go under the radar like being a “great pass protector.”

“Saquon is a premier running back, first and foremost. We're really excited about his ability to run the football,” Moore said.

“We know the aspects that make him great,” Moore continued. “It's his ability to be a great pass protector, to be a receiver out of the backfield. He does a phenomenal job with those things. Obviously, we've got to try to utilize him as much as we can while understanding it's a long season for running backs. We've got great guys behind him in [running back] Kenny [Gainwell] and [running back] Will [Shipley] and all the guys back there that we're excited about. We're fortunate to have Saquon.”

Barkley in unfamiliar role being the veteran in running back room

It did not feel like long ago for Barkley and really for any fan when he was coming out of college as one of the best running back prospects ever, cementing himself as a young exciting player. Now he joins an Eagles team where despite being new, he is actually the oldest in the running back room compared to Kenneth Gainwell (25), Will Shipley (21), and Lew Nichols (22).

“That's definitely funny to me. There's a beauty in it too,” Barkley said. “You see how fast your time goes in [the league]. And when you're having fun with it, the time flies by.”

In any sense, the Eagles are hoping Barkley can uplift the team after a disappointing season last year where they were 11-6 and eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after making the Super Bowl prior. They start their season Friday, Sept. 6 as they face the Green Bay Packers in the country of Brazil.