The NY Giants have reportedly moved quickly to fill the hole created by Saquon Barkley’s injury.
Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 48 hours after NY Giants superstar running back Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL, the team has reportedly gone out and found a replacement in the form of former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro, Devonta Freeman.
Freeman, who was released by the Falcons after the 2019 season, has been looking to bounce back in the league after a lackluster final season in Atlanta.
The news was first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Should everything go well with his COVID-19 testing, it’s fair to assume that Freeman could be ready to suit up for the NY Giants as soon as this weekend when Big Blue takes on the banged-up San Fransisco 49ers at Metlife Stadium.
It was clear that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was going to have to make some kind of move at the running back position as veteran Dion Lewis is more of a change-of-pace back, and I had Devonta Freeman listed as the top option to replace Saquon Barkley yesterday.
Clearly, the organization doesn’t think too highly of 2017 fourth-round draft pick Wayne Gallman as he was a healthy scratch this past weekend and didn’t seem to really factor in as a potential replacement for Barkley.
It will be interesting to see what Freeman’s contract will look like as the NY Giants have just $9M available in cap space as the former Pro Bowler was supposedly looking to cash in this offseason after being released in year three of a five-year, $41M contract extension he signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.
The Falcons ate $6M in dead cap space by moving on from Freeman in 2020. The 28-year-old ‘back has made $24M over the first six years of his NFL career so it is possible he signed a team-friendly deal in order to be able to become a featured ‘back again.
It’s likely that this will just be a one-year contract as Freeman and the NY Giants both only really need each other for the rest of the 2020 season with Saquon Barkley slated to come back at full strength by the beginning of 2021.
Getting to know new NY Giants running back Devonta Freeman
A fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 2014, Devonta Freeman spent all of the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons.
After being part of a back-by-committee approach as a rookie, Freeman exploded in 2015 en route to a second-team All-Pro nod. On the season, Freeman racked up 1,056 yards on the ground on a 4.0 average while leading the NFL with 11 rushing TD’s.
He also displayed his ability to be a dual-threat by hauling in 73 receptions for 578 yards and three more touchdowns through the air. The stocky 5’8”, 208-pound tailback backed up that effort with another impressive Pro Bowl campaign in 2016 that saw him go over 1,000 rushing yards with 11 TDs again while upping his rushing average to an elite 4.8 yards-per-carry.
The talented ‘back was also an integral part of the Atlanta Falcons 2016 Super Bowl run as he totaled 330 total yards (162 rushing, 168 receiving) and three TDs over the span of the team’s three playoff games that year.
The emergence of Tevin Coleman and a few nagging injuries have slowed Freeman down in the three years since then, but finding a running back on the right side of 30 with almost 6,000 career total yards and 43 total TD’s is a nice find for the NY Giants.
Freeman is coming off a career-low in terms of yards-per-carry (3.6) in 2019, but the entire Atlanta Falcons offense struggled last year.
The veteran tailback is known for his ability to pass block which will be very much welcomed after Saquon Barkley’s struggles in that department over the years.
We’ll keep you posted on what the final contract looks like as soon as the information is available.