On Wednesday, November 17, the New York Giants made an inevitable roster move.
The team officially announced that they’ve signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to the active roster.
After the Giants lost All-Pro middle linebacker Blake Martinez to a torn ACL for the remainder of the season in Week 3, they signed McKinney on October 19 as an experienced depth piece ahead of their Week 7 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
Upon joining the Giants’ practice squad, McKinney has been elevated to the active roster each week since arriving in East Rutherford.
In three games as a Giant, McKinney has received limited snaps on defense, but has proved to be a solid addition when given the chance to play. McKinney has nine total tackles for the Giants, splitting time at inside linebacker with Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland.
Now, with McKinney reaching his limit on practice squad call-ups, the Giants decided it was time to sign him to the 53-man roster.
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Pro Bowl Pedigree
Prior to being picked up by the Giants, McKinney was released by the Miami Dolphins at the end of training camp on August 31.
Although McKinney was a Pro Bowler for the Houston Texans in 2018, and made Second-Team All-Pro in 2016, they traded him to the Dolphins during the offseason after he went down with a season-ending shoulder injury last year.
The Texans received pass rusher Shaq Lawson and a 2021 sixth-round pick in return for McKinney. The soon-to-be 29-year-old was originally drafted by Houston in the second-round of the 2015 NFL draft at No. 43 overall.
Houston signed McKinney to a five-year, $50 million contract extension prior to his Pro Bowl campaign in 2018.
But after his shoulder injury in 2020, the Texans felt he was expendable and dealt him to the Dolphins.
Now, he will look to increase his role on the Giants’ defense in the second half of the season as the team attempts to make a run at a Wild Card spot with eight games left to play.
With the Giants’ top two running backs dealing with injuries in Saquon Barkley (low ankle sprain) and Devontae Booker (hip), they’ve added more depth in their backfield.
After signing Mckinney to the active roster on Wednesday, the Giants filled his spot on the practice squad with running back Jonathan Williams.
Williams was previously on Washington Football Team’s practice squad until November 2. The six-year veteran was selected in the fifth-round out of Arkansas by the Buffalo Bills back in the 2016 NFL draft.
Since entering the league, Williams has appeared in 28 games, making one start. He has rushed for 334 yards on 80 carries for two touchdowns, while catching 11 passes for 81 yards in his career.
Booker, the Giants’ primary backup, who has stepped in as the starter in Barkley’s absence, was seen working with trainers on the side during practice on Wednesday due to his hip issue suffered against the Las Vegas Raiders on November 7.
If Booker and Barkley are both unable to go on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rookie Gary Brightwell, who is back from the reserve/Covid-19 list and Williams could be the Giants’ lone healthy running backs.
Fortunately, Barkley has been participating in practice this week and is on track to play vs. the Bucs.’ Not to mention, the Giants still have fullbacks Elijah Penny and Cullen Gillaspia as options in the backfield as well.
But it doesn’t hurt that they brought in Williams as an insurance plan.
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