Buffalo Bills sign ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman to practice squad

New York Giantsm Devonta Freeman

The Buffalo Bills made a pair of roster moves as they prepare for their Divisional matchup against Baltimore on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of roster moves prior to Saturday’s night AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC). In conjunction with the placement of running back Zack Moss on injured reserve, the team added rusher Devonta Freeman to their practice squad and activated offensive lineman Jordan Devey to their 53-man roster.

Freeman, 28, partook in five games with the New York Giants earlier this season, picking up 172 yards over five games (four starts). The two-time Pro Bowler was placed on injured reserve in November with an ankle ailment before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was outright released on January 7.

His best performance in blue was a 60-yard output on 17 carries in an October loss in Dallas. Freeman scored the first and only Giants touchdown in that same game. Previously, Freeman led the league with 11 rushing scores during the 2015 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. He reached two Pro Bowls as an Atlanta representative and has appeared in five postseason games, scoring a touchdown through the air or on the ground in each of them. Freeman was notably a member of the Falcons’ 2016-17 squad that reached Super Bowl LI.

With Moss placed on injured reserve, his postseason is over thanks to the required three-week stay that comes with such placement. Moss had 47 total yards during the Bills’ Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park. Devin Singletary will likely shoulder a larger load, while other reserve rushers on the active roster include T.J. Yeldon and Taiwan Jones. Freeman joins Week 17 star Antonio Williams on the practice squad, with the latter scoring twice in the blowout win over Miami.

Devey, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, joins the Bills’ active roster after spending most of it on their practice squad. He was previously activated for the Bills’ October visit to East Rutherford to take on the Jets. Devey previously started six games during the 2014 New England Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLIX and also has earned a playoff start with Kansas City. He has partaken in 43 games overall (21 starts) since entering the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants waive Devonta Freeman following season

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants haven’t found a need for Devonta Freeman now that their season is over and main back Saquon Barkley will be back on the field next year. Freeman joined the Giants pretty early in the year following the injury to Barkley, but never reached the same heights he did with the Falcons.

While he showed some flashes of potential, he only ended up playing in five games this season thanks to injury. Freeman was on the injured reserve at the time the Giants came to the decision to part ways with the veteran. During those five games in which he appeared, he had 54 rushes for 172 yards and one touchdown.

The Giants ended up leaning on Wayne Gallman more this season, who proved why he belongs on the roster and secured his spot for next year thanks to his performance during Barkley’s absence.

Overall, when it comes to the top rushers on the Giants, Freeman was above Dion Lewis but behind Alfred Morris and Daniel Jones as well as Gallman, who finished the year as the leading rusher. All of those other players, however, had more chances to get on the field than Freeman did this season.

His 3.2 yards per attempt aren’t better than any of the other main backs, however, even including Lewis. All in all, it wasn’t a very good season for Freeman and the Giants likely see Morris and Gallman as the backups behind Barkley rather than him.

It remains to be seen if the franchise also plans on moving on from Dion Lewis, but that wouldn’t be surprising given his comparably low performance this season in Barkley’s absence.

New York Giants: 7 players the Giants need to part ways with in 2021

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants might have missed the playoffs, but that does not mean they lacked roster talent at several key positions.

The Giants needed a little help from the Eagles to sneak in, but of course, they did us dirty in their tank-job. Either way, the Giants should have controlled their own destiny and made the postseason on their own. This team is still ways away from competing for a Championship. The G-Men have some very difficult decisions this offseason about this roster. There are a few easy decisions that the Giants have to do to create more cap space to sign and re-sign some key players to this team.

Here are the seven players that the New York Giants need to part ways within 2021:

LB Kyler Fackrell

The New York Giants signed Kyler Fackrell to a one-year prove-it deal, worth around $4.6 million. Most of Fackrell’s contract included guarantees, which were around $3.5 million.

The other thing Fackrell proved was he can not be a productive pass rusher this late in his career. He was a good rotational pass rusher for the Giants. Fackrell had 4.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Dallas in 11 games.

The Giants are lacking a pass rush due to Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines having season-ending injuries. They are also looking for a pass rusher either in free agency or in the draft.

RB Dion Lewis

The Giants signed Dion Lewis to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Obviously, they did not spend a lot of money on Lewis, but his performance tells the story of way.

Lewis has played 15 games for the G-Men, and the stats show for themselves why he should not be on this roster next season. Lewis only produced 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Lewis caught only 19 passes for 127 yards and a score.

Not only did Lewis struggle at running back for the Giants, but he also struggled to be the Giants’ return specialist. Lewis fumbled three times on kickoff.

Based on the lack of production, the Giants have no reason to re-sign him back in 2021.

LT Nate Solder

Before we start to talk about why the Giants need to cut him in 2021, I just want to say this is nothing personal. I have a lot of respect for Solder for putting his family first over football and money. It takes a lot of pride!

The New York Giants signed Nate Solder to a four-year deal worth $62 million. Solder has a cap hit of $16.4 million, but if the Giants wait to cut him post-June 1, the Giants would free up $9.9 in cap. It would leave them with $6.5 million in dead money.

It’s entirely possible that the 32-year tackle may just want to retire. If he does not, the Giants may have no other choice to cut him due to lack of production. Solder’s performance has been disappointing since his signing in 2018, allowing 18 sacks and 89 pressures in just two seasons.

I hope the best for Solder in what he chooses, if it’s to stay in the NFL or retire, but I do not see him in a Giants uniform in the 2021 season.

QB Colt McCoy

The Giants signed Colt McCoy to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million. McCoy deal is really friendly with the Giants, but with the injury history of Daniel Jones, the Giants need a more viable option at backup quarterback.

In the four games that McCoy appeared in, he has completed 60.6% of his passes for 375 yards and only one touchdown but one interception. The issue with having McCoy at backup is the Giants only scored a combined 13 points in his two starts.

With backup quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, and Jameis Winston all becoming free agents this offseason, the Giants need to sign one of these guys that can come in and still compete.

RB Devonta Freeman

Big Blue signed Devonta Freeman in the middle of the season to fill in for Saquon Barkley when he went down with his ACL tear. Freeman signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Giants only worth $1.35 million.

Freeman took some time to get up to speed but ultimately was very unproductive for the G-Men. Freeman logged 54 carries for 172 yards and only one touchdown. Freeman played in five games before going down with an injury and going on the injured reserve for the Giants.

Barkley should be ready for the 2021 season. With the lack of production during this season, there is no reason for the Giants to keep Freeman.

RT Cameron Fleming

The Giants signed Cameron Fleming to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. Fleming, when signed, was not expected to be a starter, but when Solder opted out of this season, he was thrown right into the starting lineup at right tackle.

Fleming has struggled since Week 1 and has been rotating in and out with rookie tackle Matt Peart. Fleming has surrendered six sacks, four quarterback hits, and 35 pressures given up.

One of the biggest reasons why Fleming came to New York was because of Marc Colombo and Jason Garrett. When Colombo was fired about a month ago and Garrett now on the hot seat, it is really hard to see Fleming back in a Big Blue uniform in 2021.

WR Golden Tate

The New York Giants signed Golden Tate to a four-year deal worth $37.5 million in 2019. When this signing first happened, it seemed like the Giants did this to please the fans when they traded Odell Beckham Jr. shortly before.

The Giants could release Tate after the 2020 season and gain $6.1 million back on the cap. The Giants would have $4.7 million in dead money, but that will really open the receiver spot for the Giants to either sign or draft a weapon for Daniel Jones.

Tate is not the player he once was. He was been very injury prone over the last two seasons, had a disciplinary issue that made him get benched for a game in 2020, and suspended for PEDs in 2019. Even on the field, his production has been lacking. Tate, in the past, was a receiver that would get tons of separation and was deadly after the catch.

With Tate’s lack of production for the last two seasons, I do not see Tate playing another in a G-Men uniform in 2021.

 

 

New York Giants: Devonta Freeman removed from reserve/COVID-19 list

The New York Giants haven’t had much good news lately when it comes to the reserve/COVID-19 list. After offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s positive test, the team saw potential All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry moved there leading to the upcoming game with the Browns. Bradberry will miss that game, but it’s easy to forget the fact that the Giants also received some positive news that day.

Running back Devonta Freeman, who hasn’t played since week seven, has been removed from the list and may still come back this season. However, that won’t be an immediate boost for the Browns game as Freeman is also on the injured reserve for now due to an ankle injury. It remains to be seen if he’ll make a comeback this season, but there’s two weeks left to do so once the Cleveland game is out of the way.

Freeman was signed by the team to replace Saquon Barkley this season after Barkley’s ACL tear took him out for the year. But the Giants have gotten better results running with other backs, including a recently surging Wayne Gallman who is having a career best year.

Even with the upward trend from Gallman, however, it doesn’t hurt to have another experienced running back around and ready to step in if needed.

As for a possible return date, it doesn’t look like Freeman coming back for the last two games is out of the question. Freeman has already returned to practice, after all, and has already sat out for plenty of time to recover.

He has 172 yards on 3.2 yards per attempt this season, which marks the lowest average of his career. However, the Giants won’t be expecting Freeman to take a lead role in the running game, so Freeman’s presence as a supporting figure will likely be appreciated.

New York Giants: This Daniel Jones statistic needs to change soon

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are relying a lot on Daniel Jones this season. Arguably, they’re relying on him too much. Everyone expected Jones to be a big part of the passing game, but not many would believe it if you said Jones would also be the leading rusher on the Giants come week four. But going into a game with the Rams, that’s the case. Jones is the leading rusher by a decent margin and the second place player, Saquon Barkley, is out for the season.

The Giants having rushing troubles in the first couple of weeks was somewhat understandable. The offensive line had changed and Barkley was injured early on. However, these troubles extending into the third loss of the season shows a bigger problem.

Poor performance for Giants running backs

The team just can’t get anything going in the rushing game. Devonta Freeman, the veteran back brought in after Barkley’s injury, only has 10 yards with the team so far. He was also limited in his role in his first game with the team, racking up only five rushes.

Freeman’s role with the team should expand in week four, but increased touches won’t mean much unless the offensive line gives openings and Freeman steps up and takes them. After all, Dion Lewis hasn’t performed well so far despite having an entire offseason to learn Jason Garrett’s system. Lewis has 12 attempts and one touchdown so far, but only 21 actual rushing yards.

The Giants will definitely have to rely on Daniel Jones to some degree on offense this year. But one area where they shouldn’t rely on him is the passing game. The Giants have a tough enough matchup against the Rams even without their rushing struggles.

If Jones is once again the leading rusher for the Giants and not one of the running backs, don’t expect the Giants to walk away with a win.

One essential for the New York Giants against the Rams in week 4

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants are gearing up to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in week four of the 2020 regular season, and it will be another difficult matchup for a New York team who has struggled early on.

Having been blown out by the San Francisco 49ers last weekend, the Giants will attempt to take a step forward against the Rams. The notable deficiencies fell on the running game and offensive line. Of course, the defense didn’t play at an adequate level either, considering they allowed 36 points. However, the Giants had 3x less time of possession compared to the 49ers, who schematically outgunned the Giants on all fronts.

The New York Giants have a tough task ahead of them:

Against a strong Los Angeles team, the Giants must increase their time of possession if they wish to at least remain competitive in the contest. Last week, the Giants only totaled 66 total rushing yards, in which only 17 came from the running backs. Devonta Freeman recorded the most carries with five and tallied 10 yards. Quarterback Daniel Jones led the team with 49 yards on the ground, mainly due to his protection failing to get the job done.

Establishing a running game opens up the offense on multiple levels, including taking risks downfield and play action. When a defense can essentially factor out the running game, they can stack the box and keep plays in front of them. Since the Giants rank near dead last in pass protection, the combination of cons is simply devastating.

In a season where NFL teams are scoring more than usual, the Giants have only put up 35 total points. The Rams, on the other hand, have put up 89 total points, scoring more in their week two win over the Eagles than the Giants have through three games. That should give you an idea of how poorly the Giants matchup against Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, week four offers an opportunity for the Giants to climb back into the NFC East, a division that is separated by just one win from first to last place.

New York Giants: The two RBs backing up Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants responded to the Saquon Barkley injury by signing Devonta Freeman. The former Falcons running back looks to be their starter for the rest of the year as Barkley’s ACL recovers. However, Freeman is one running back in a rotation of multiple. With the team’s best player out, it’s reasonable to assume the Giants will give more touches to their backup backs this year.

Who is manning those backup spots? Largely, that’s one new signing and one player that’s been with the Giants for the past three seasons.

Dion Lewis

Former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis was signed during the offseason by the Giants. At the time, it appeared he was just a backup to Saquon Barkley. In this role, Lewis looked like a pretty good fit. After all, he had rushed for nearly 900 yards during his best season and while his performance fell off more recently, the Giants didn’t need him for a large role.

But Lewis might be getting more touches than expected thanks to the team’s current situation. This may be a chance for him to help revive his career. It’s been trending backwards for the past couple of seasons, but we have yet to see much of Lewis as a Giant.

During the 2019 season he fell from 517 yards to 209 while competing with Derrick Henry. It’s hard to tell just how much of that is because of Lewis himself, though. After all, Henry would be considered stiff competition to any back in the league.

In his two appearances for the Giants, Lewis has 11 rushes and 21 yards so far. Not the greatest numbers, but those may see a change. Lewis hardly would have expected to fill in for Saquon Barkley full time in week two against the Bears, but that’s what ended up happening. Presumably, being more mentally in the game next time will prevent such bad numbers in yards per carry.

Wayne Gallman

The other main option behind Devonta Freeman is Wayne Gallman. Gallman actually predates Barkley but he’s only shown flashes of potential, never starring for the Giants. Still, there’s something impressive about his ability to avoid the cut. Even this season when the Giants brought in Lewis, Gallman was able to keep his job for another year.

With no Barkley in the picture and an unfamiliar free agent as the starter, Gallman may get a chance to touch the ball more – at least to trial his skills and see if he’s worth putting in the rotation. He had 476 rushing yards in 2017 but was never able to repeat the performance as Barkley came in and took over the top spot.

The following seasons, Gallman had 176 and 110 yards. Not enough to stand out, but those numbers have been enough to allow him to keep his job. Gallman only has one carry this season so far, in the opener. That was a 14 yard run, but peculiarly, he received no carries against Chicago even after Barkley was hurt.

Don’t expect Gallman to become the main option – but this season may just be a chance for him to justify his continued presence as a backup.

Joe Judge Settling in to Life Without Saquon Barkley

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants lost star running back Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL for the season last Sunday in Chicago and now face the prospect of a running back-by-committee approach.

Then again, whoever holds the hot hand could end up getting the reps.

“He may be the guy for that moment,” head coach Joe Judge told reporters about the hot hand on Thursday. “Maybe he’s the guy for that game plan the way things are working and clicking. But I’d say within every specific game plan, we’re going to always look to use all of the players we have at the game, and make sure we have enough combinations to go ahead and create advantages for ourselves.”

Right now, the Giants have three players that will be vying for reps at running back – Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and the newly signed Devonta Freeman.

“I think you just use whatever you have on your roster, whether it’s a guy like Saquon, we still have Dion Lewis who we rely heavily on, and Wayne Gallman who we rely heavily on,” said Judge. “Obviously, Saquon’s situation, we all feel for him. He’s going to work his butt off to get back here as fast as possible.

We’re happy to have Devonta. The thing I see with him is he’s a ball guy. You can tell this guy has a lot of passion for the game, he has a lot of experience, he plays hard, he practices hard. I was very impressed yesterday out at practice with the fire he practiced with, the attention to detail, how fast he picked up on a lot of our system. He’s an experienced guy, but sometimes experience in other systems doesn’t always translate over to knowing the alphabet of what you’re doing. But he really did a good job of understanding what we’re doing in practice, being able to get in the huddle, break the huddle, know what to do and do it very effectively. It was very encouraging on day one.”

Time will tell how this all pans out but one thing is for sure, all three can play and all three are currently healthy.

 

 

Niners’ Shanahan: Giants Getting ‘Helluva Player’ in Devonta Freeman

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants (0-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at MetLife Stadium this Sunday afternoon in a game where both teams will be down several key players to injury.

The 49ers had five key starters go down against the Jets at MetLife last Sunday. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both blew out ACLs and are gone for the season. Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman suffered knee injuries and quarterback Jimmy Garappolo (ankle) aren’t likely to face the Giants this week. In addition, linebacker Dee Ford (back) is out and All-Pro tight end George Kittle (knee) is questionable for this week.

The Giants lost stud running back Saquon Barkley for the season to a torn ACL and starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard was placed on IR with an ailing toe.

To help defray the loss of Barkley, the Giants signed two-time Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to their roster. Freeman, an all-around back who rushed for 1,000 yards twice in his career, will join Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman in what will likely be a committee approach in the Giants’ backfield.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knows Freeman very well, having coached him in Atlanta as their offensive coordinator during Freeman’s two Pro Bowl seasons (2015-16).

“They’re getting a hell of a player and a hell of a guy,” Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday. ” I love (RB Devonta Freeman), hell of a pickup for you guys at this time of year. He’s a really good runner, he’s really good out of the backfield as a receiver and a great teammate to have around.”

Freeman had a lost 2018 season due to multiple injuries and went unsigned this spring after having a bounce back season last year in Atlanta.

Should the New York Giants kick the tires on Devonta Freeman after Saquon Barkley injury?

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The worst part about Sunday for the New York Giants wasn’t losing to the Chicago Bears, it was watching star running back Saquon Barkley fall to the ground in pain. Just two plays before his knee evidently gave out, Barkley hyperextended his elbow and left the field for a split second.

Barkley’s return was welcomed with a sigh of relief, but it didn’t last long after jump-cutting to the right side of the field and making contact with Bears’ safety Eddie Jackson. By the time Saquon was engaged with the defender, his knee was experiencing searing pain.

Shortly after Barkley went down, he hobbled off the field and to the bench. He made his way to the locker room to receive x-rays on his knee, and early reports indicate that a torn ACL is likely the diagnosis. Saquon enjoyed four carries for 28 yards on the ground before the injury, but had a tumultuous start to the season, logging 15 attempts for 6 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one. The Giants’ offensive line didn’t do him any favors, but he started off week two, averaging 7 yards per carry.

With Barkley in his third season, he was expected to earn a massive contract in 2021. That will obviously be on hold, as he will try to reinstate his form in the NFL and make a come back from this unfortunate injury.

Should the New York Giants consider Devonta Freeman as a replacement?

Freeman is a capable NFL running back who enjoyed Pro Bowl seasons in 2015 and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. He has failed to remain healthy the past couple of years, rushing for 656 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. He would be a welcomed addition to the Giants, who could use a strong running back that can move the chains adequately. He’s also a fantastic receiving threat, enjoying 410 yards and four touchdowns last year through the air.

Over six seasons in the NFL, Freeman has 1000+ scrimmage yards in four of them. While he might be a bit pricey on a one year deal, he is the best option available on the market and would hold down the fort in the meantime. Otherwise, the Giants will rely on Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman to lead their backfield, which is certainly a realistic possibility. However, kicking the tires on Freeman isn’t a bad idea, considering his past success and the multifaceted approach he brings to the game.