The New York Giants have made it a priority this offseason to shore up their running back depth behind a hopefully healthy Saquon Barkley. The team turned heads early on in free agency by doling out a two-year, $5.5 million contract ($2 million guaranteed) to veteran Devontae Booker — $1.86-plus million more guaranteed than reigning leading rusher Wayne Gallman received from the 49ers, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. When asked about the decision to prioritize the former Las Vegas Raider in free agency, GM Dave Gettleman claimed the Giants “felt he was a legitimate three-down running back.”
Despite having multiple “three-down running backs” at their disposal, the team continued to address the position. They proceeded to pull the trigger on Arizona bruiser Gary Brightwell in the sixth round of April’s NFL Draft and have since added both former Eagles Super Bowl hero Corey Clement and ex-Jaguars fifth-rounder Ryquell Armstead to the mix as well — and they may not be finished.
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Adrian Peterson Predicted to Sign With the Giants
The Score’s Jack Browne doesn’t believe the G-Men are quite done bolstering their run game. With Barkley likely to sit out of training camp as he makes his way back from a torn ACL, Browne predicts the team will add some reinforcement to the position in the form of the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rusher, Adrian Peterson.
Peterson continues to fight back harder against Father Time than anyone in the NFL not named Tom Brady. After two solid seasons in Washington, the 36-year-old had 604 yards and seven touchdowns for the Lions in 2020. Peterson needs just 450 more to pass Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time rushing list, so it’s a given he will try and play at least one more campaign.
However, finding a landing spot for him is hard. Peterson’s lack of receiving skills makes him an awkward fit as a No. 2, but he will almost certainly need to take on a backup role to an established starter, perhaps Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants or Austin Ekeler of the Chargers. But perhaps the Oklahoma product’s best chance of earning a ring and getting enough work to pass Sanders could be with the run-happy Seahawks.
Prediction: Signs with Giants
Does Signing Peterson Make Sense for the Giants?
For starters, Peterson is the poster child for how to return to elite form from a torn ACL. He’s also always spoken highly of Barkley and would likely serve as a great mentor for Barkley during his rehab. For that reason alone, we are intrigued by the possibility. Now, onto the on-field aspect of this scenario.
Has Peterson lost a step? Sure. With that said, he still remains one of the better pure runners of the football in all the NFL — even at 36 years old. Of course, where the future Hall of Famer falls short is within the other facets of the game. Never known for his receiving skillset, Peterson hasn’t eclipsed 20 receptions in a season since 2015. On top of that, he’s logged just one special teams snap since 2012.
If the Giants are concerned about Barkley’s availability early on in the regular season, a signing like Peterson makes sense. Suiting up for four different teams over the last four years, Peterson has proven he can come in and produce at an admirable level on short notice, averaging nearly 767 rushing yards and totaling 22 touchdowns over that span.
On the other hand, if the team is looking for a change of pace option behind a healthy Barkley, the Giants could likely do better filling the specific niche elsewhere.
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