Ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman Latches on With Super Bowl Contender

Ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman signs with Bills

Getty Devonta Freeman #31 of the New York Giants.

The Buffalo Bills are adding a veteran presence to their ailing backfield.

The AFC East champions are signing two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman to their practice squad, per Freeman’s agent Drew Rosenhaus (H/T ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

The move comes on the heels of Buffalo losing rookie running back Zack Moss to injury in their wild card victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Moss, the Bills’ second-leading rusher, was carted off the field last Saturday after suffering an ankle injury and will miss the remainder of the postseason.

A third-round pick out of Utah, Moss amassed 481 rushing yards on 112 attempts (4.3 ypc) and four touchdowns on the ground in 2020. He also chipped in with 14 receptions for 95 yards and another touchdown through the air.

Moss’ absence vaults 2019 third-round pick, Singletary, into a nearly every-down role moving forward. The Bills also have T.J. YeldonTaiwan Jones and undrafted rookie Antonio Williams on their roster. Williams would have to be called up from the practice squad but ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns during Buffalo’s 56-26 win over Miami in Week 17.

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Freeman’s Disappointing Run in New York

Freeman, who was released off of injured reserve by the Giants last week, cleared waivers allowing him to sign with any team of his choice.

An injury replacement to the all-world Saquon Barkley in the Giants’ backfield earlier this season, Freeman’s own injuries derailed what looked to be a promising run early on in New York.

Freeman’s signing came in response to Barkley’s season-ending knee injury suffered in Week 2. By Week 4, the two-time 1,000-plus yard rusher was thrust into Big Blue’s starting lineup.

Freeman would go on to average nearly 18 touches per game over the next three contests, serving as the focal point for the Giants’ rather sluggish offense (finished season ranked 31st in the NFL). However, an ankle injury suffered in Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles quickly derailed his 2020 campaign. Freeman would find himself on I.R. and eventually out of a job.

In Freeman’s absence, the Giants hopped on the Wayne Train, as fourth-year pro, Wayne Gallman, enjoyed a breakout season notching career-highs in every prominent rushing category. Beyond Gallman, veteran journeyman, Alfred Morris, emerged from his couch to exceed all expectations as the second-fiddle to Gallman in the Giants backfield. Over a nine-game stretch with New York this year, the 32-year-old averaged 4.3 ypc on 55 attempts, his second-highest average in a single season since 2013.

Freeman would never play another snap with the G-Men, ending his tenure in East Rutherford after just five games (four starts) and compiling 230 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. Over his seven-year career, Freeman has totaled 6,217 yards from scrimmage (4,144 rushing, 2,073 receiving) and 44 total touchdowns (33 rushing, 11 receiving).

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Freeman’s Role in Buffalo

Freeman has a strong chance of playing a pivotal role in Buffalo’s quest for a Lombardi trophy, although he’ll of course need to get the call up to the active roster first. Buffalo’s current backfield consists of T.J. Yeldon, Taiwan Jones and undrafted rookie Antonio Williams behind starter Devin Singletary.

“Zack being out, we’ll look at guys on our roster that we have a lot of confidence in, T.J. and Antonio and [practice squad player] Christian [Wade] there, so we’ll take a look at what our options are. And like I said, we’ve got a lot of confidence in all three of those guys,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Monday, via ESPN.

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