The New York Giants had a tough time in 2020 at the running back spot. Saquon Barkley went down quickly with an injury, and new signing Devonta Freeman would also end up spending time out injured and ultimately never did much with the team. It took the Giants some time to figure out the running game last year, but they ultimately finished in a better place than they started through the first few weeks.
This season, though, we might not see the same running backs that took most of the snaps this year for the Giants. Wayne Gallman is an unrestricted free agent. So is Alfred Morris, who had the second most rushing yards out of Giants running backs.
2020 was the best year of Wayne Gallman’s career. Going into the season, there were some questions about whether the Giants even needed him. After all, his performance hadn’t been anything exceptional in past seasons and Barkley was starting ahead of him. But then, Barkley went down and everything changed.
With the Giants needing a running back and not finding their man in either Devonta Freeman or Dion Lewis, Gallman stepped up as the option already on the roster. He had 682 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in 15 games played – 10 of them being starts. That’s a career high, and it’s thanks to Gallman that Daniel Jones didn’t finish as the team’s lead rusher.
The Giants might be interested in bringing Gallman back, but he’s an unrestricted free agent and looks like one of the most likely Giants to leave. His rookie deal is over and coming off the strongest year of his career, the Giants will have to pay him more to keep him around.
It’s unlikely the Giants have to lean on their backup running backs as heavily again this season, when Barkley returns – it’s hard to see them paying up instead of trusting that Barkley won’t be injured and bringing in a cheaper replacement.
Alfred Morris was the second leading Giants running back last season. While he didn’t put up the same kind of numbers Gallman did, he added to the team’s efforts with 238 rushing yards in 9 appearances. He’s also an unrestricted free agent this season.
However, unlike Gallman, it looks like there’s a stronger chance we could see Morris in blue again this season.
Morris played out the season on a one year deal and the Giants had to pay him less than they paid Gallman, with a cap hit of only $352k. He’s an older player that will be 33 this season, but that may not be so much of a problem for the Giants assuming Barkley isn’t injured again.
It’s clear that the Giants are better when they can run the ball often and not put all the pressure on Daniel Jones. And we can expect Barkley to take a lot of those snaps. The Giants need backup running backs to relieve the load, not take it over entirely.
Therefore, with Gallman likely to leave and the Giants having no clear number one backup, it looks like a likely outcome to see them bring back Alfred Morris on another small deal while also potentially bringing in a back through a later draft round or free agency to add to the competition.