NY Giants sign former Steelers safety and release RB Gary Brightwell

Things just didn't workout for the RB in New York.
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

In a somewhat surprising move out of the NY Giants OTAs, Joe Schoen has decided to release veteran running back Gary Brightwell in order to free up space for a safety who has spent his last two seasons playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brightwell was released with an injury designation, and considering that the Giants have spent two picks in the last two years on running backs, it's clear that there wasn't going to be enough room for the Arizona product.

In three seasons, Brightwell ran the ball 41 times for 164 yards and one touchdown, serving primarily as the third or fourth running back in New York's depth chart during this time. While he could have potentially moved up the chart given the inexperience of the running backs ahead of him, we'll never know now that he is gone.

The NY Giants releasing Gary Brightwell feels like a bit of a surprise

With the loss of Brightwell comes the new addition of Steelers safety Elijah Riley, a four-year veteran who doesn't have a ton of experience on the field, only playing in 400 snaps during this time. However, when on the field, Riley has been solid enough to be given a chance in this Giants secondary.

Back in 2021, Riley got a good amount of playing time with the Jets, starting in seven games. During this time he racked up 45 combined tackles, four tackles for loss, and a pass deflection. However, his numbers in pass coverage weren't great, allowing nine receptions on 13 targets for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

At the very least, given his abilities to make plays in the open field, Riley could become a serviceable special teams player for the Giants. Regardless, the Army product has a long ways to go in order to prove what he can do for New York. Jason Pinnock and Tyler Nubin (second-round pick) are the expected starters at safety, so this is a depth move from Schoen.