Giants mentioned in mind-numbing mock-trade for Steelers running back

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, new york giants
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen made the executive decision to let Saquon Barkley walk in free agency. Whether he was actually considering bringing him back on a new contract or not, extending him to a deal worth over $12 million per season would have been malpractice, given the state of the Giants’ roster.

The Giants’ Cost-Efficient Strategy with Devin Singletary

The Giants need to see quarterback Daniel Jones operate a passing game that doesn’t lean on the running back position to mask holes across the roster. Barkley was heavily relied on over his five-year stint with Big Blue, and the Giants took a far more cost-efficient route this off-season, signing Devin Singletary to a three-year, $16.5 million deal. This is the type of contract the Giants should be paying for the running back position instead of coughing up $26 million guaranteed over three seasons to Barkley.

Evaluating Potential Moves: The Case Against Najee Harris

With that being said, Ryan Fowler of Bleacher Report recently suggested that the Giants should target Steelers running back Najee Harris in a potential trade.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, new york giants
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately, Schoen has a decent head on his shoulders and would probably laugh at the idea of acquiring the former Pro Bowl running back. Having just let their star running back walk in free agency, spending more draft capital on Harris in a contract year makes little to no sense.

Not only would the Giants have to be willing to pay him, but what value would he bring to a team that is trying to focus more on the passing game and already spent $5.5 million per season on average with Singletary’s deal? This is Malik Nabers’ show to run now, so adding another bell-cow back to the offense would be an odd turn of events.

“For the Giants, GM Joe Schoen enters the summer with obvious talent at the running back position. The team added Devin Singletary via free agency, Eric Gray is in year two and Schoen also added depth by selecting Tyrone Tracy Jr in the fifth round this spring. However, there is no more Saquon Barkley and continuing to explore talent via all avenues would be wise of the Giants’ GM. Especially if the Giants want to remain competitive in 2024.”

Harris’s Track Record and the Giants’ Long-Term Strategy

Last season, Harris rushed for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per attempt. The Steelers had no offense and leaned heavily on Harris to do the dirty work, but he already has 834 attempts in the NFL and will be 26 next year.

Schoen recently stated that spending money on a long-term deal for a running back at that age is a bad idea, not to mention the fact that he made several moves that suggested the Giants are going in the direction of more positional value. Unfortunately, the running back position is losing value, and acquiring a player of Najee’s caliber would set the team back even further.

nfl: combine, joe schoen, new york giants
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Focusing on Sustainable and Value-Driven Acquisitions

Instead, they’re better off trying to find a productive player in the latter rounds of the draft, which is exactly what they did with Tyrone Tracy out of Purdue. They were keen on acquiring the older rookie because of his low share of rushing attempts after transitioning from wide receiver to running back at the collegiate level. He has minimal tread on his tires and can offer the Giants a developmental player with a legit upside on the cheap. Harris has three straight years with at least 255 attempts, suggesting he comes with a major workload.

In other words, Schoen going out and acquiring a player like Harris works directly against everything he worked to achieve this off-season, so not only is this mock trade foolish, to say the least, it contradicts the Giants’ strategy they’ve implemented, so saying this could “become a reality” is quite an interesting take.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: