NFL free agency: Making sense of NY Giants signing RB Devontae Booker

Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Running back Devontae Booker and the NY Giants agreed to terms on a two-year contract Monday, ahead of NFL free agency

The NY Giants agreed to terms with running back Devontae Booker Monday evening, a league source confirmed to GMenHQ, adding depth to the backfield behind star running back Saquon Barkley.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan was first to report Booker’s signing.

Booker, 28, spent last season with the Las Vegas Raiders, rushing for 423 yards, and three touchdowns, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Signing Booker to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million seems to spell the end of Wayne Gallman’s tenure with the Giants. For Booker, it is a significant raise over his one-year deal with the Raiders, signed last offseason.

The NY Giants needed to do something to complement Barkley in the backfield, especially after the 2018 Offensive Rookie of The Year was limited by a high-ankle sprain for much of his second season, after the injury kept him out for three games, and he suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign.

Through the first five seasons of Booker’s career, he’s rushed for 1,526 yards and nine touchdowns, while averaging four yards per carry and adding 122 receptions for 956 yards and a touchdown. Booker also is a steady special teams contributor.

Booker’s prowess as a pass-catcher could make him an ideal fit in Jason Garrett’s scheme, after NY Giants running backs caught 61 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Entering the legal tampering period Monday, the NY Giants had just over $3 million in salary cap space, prior to signing Booker and defensive lineman Austin Johnson. It seems that the front office has much work to do to free up spending flexibility, be it by finalizing a long-term extension and restructure of tackle Nate Solder’s deal and/or a long-term contract with defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

One thing is certain, at least through the first several hours of the negotiating window, the NY Giants have sat out the top-tier free agent market.

Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.