NY Giants must keep eyes on 49ers’ Wayne Gallman

Wayne Gallman #22 of the New York Giants (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Wayne Gallman #22 of the New York Giants (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The NY Giants have to be thinking about insurance for Saquon Barkley, and eyeing what happens with Wayne Gallman of the 49ers could be key.

It could be nothing, or it could be serious. But NY Giants fans can’t be assured star running back Saquon Barkley will be 100 percent and ready to go for 2021 after tearing his ACL early last season.

At least not after Barkley’s comments on The Rich Eisen Show late last week, which didn’t exactly suggest he’d be ready in time for training camp:

“The only I can do is take it one day at a time and keep that approach,” Barkley said.

Perhaps Barkley is simply being quiet about his recovery and should be close to being a “full go” by the time training camp rolls around.

Or, at the very least, ready in time for Week 1.

Yet ACL tears are awfully tricky, especially for a player requiring as much lateral agility as a running back, meaning there’s still a good chance Barkley misses time this season.

True, the G-Men have a crop of runners behind Barkley on the depth chart who may be able to fill the void. Names like Devontae Booker, Corey Clement, Gary Brightwell and even Ryquell Armstead.

But there’s another name New York should be watching by the time training camp comes to a close, someone who has already had success within head coach Joe Judge’s offense.

San Francisco 49ers running back Wayne Gallman.

Could NY Giants reunite with Wayne Gallman as Saquon Barkley insurance?

Gallman was impressive enough in relief of Barkley last year, netting 682 rush yards and averaging 4.6 yards per attempt, while also hauling in 21 receptions for 114 yards with a total of six touchdowns over 15 games played, 10 of them being starts.

While his previous three years with the NY Giants were relatively pedestrian after being selected in Round 4 of the 2017 NFL Draft, Gallman’s efforts in 2020 were good enough to land him a one-year deal with the Niners as a free agent.

Yet that was before San Francisco brought in two more running backs via this year’s draft, Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell, both of whom will only crowd Gallman’s roster chances with the 49ers heading towards the regular season.

Along with returning Niners rushers like Raheem Mostert and JaMycal Hasty, it’s very possible and perhaps even likely Gallman becomes a victim of the numbers game.

Unless San Francisco elects to keep five running backs on its 53-man roster or Gallman beats out one of those other four.

Granted, Gallman’s role as Barkley insurance was mostly alleviated by the Booker signing this offseason, and having the two could be quite redundant if Barkley is able to return, even if he has to wait a few weeks into the regular season to be fully recovered.

That said, Gallman already showcased his value to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett a year ago. And if Booker struggles in camp in a de facto RB1 role with Barkley sidelined, perhaps Big Blue will look closely at all those post-training camp cuts around the league to see if Gallman is made available.

If so, and Barkley isn’t available to return for a while, a reunion with Gallman shouldn’t be ruled out.

Next. Giants roster: What if Saquon Barkley gets hurt again?. dark