Insider Expects Giants to Add 2-Time Pro Bowl RB to Help Replace Saquon Barkley

Giants insider expects team to sign Alfred Morris

Getty Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants carries the ball during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons.

With Saquon Barkley expected to miss upwards of a month after sustaining a low ankle sprain against Dallas, the New York Giants are set to hand over their backfield to veteran offseason addition, Devontae Booker. While GM Dave Gettleman lauded Booker as a “legitimate three-down running back” this offseason, the 29-year-old left much to be desired in his first extended look of the season this past Sunday.

Booker managed to find the endzone twice against the Cowboys but mustered up just 42 yards rushing on 16 carries (2.63 average). Hopefully, a full practice week as the team’s lead back will translate to better production against the Rams next Sunday. However, with rookie sixth-rounder Gary Brightwell and fullback Eli Penny as the only other backs on Big Blue’s 53-man roster, it’s safe to say New York could use some added reinforcement in their Barkley-less backfield. The Athletic’s Dan Duggan would seemingly agree, as he expects the team to pick up the phone and give free-agent Alfred Morris a call in hopes of bringing him back to East Rutherford.

Morris Exceeded Expectations in his Lone Season With the Giants

While the 32-year-old may no longer be the two-time Pro Bowl-caliber player that torched the NFC East with regularity earlier in his Washington career, Morris proved capable of being a viable complementary back with the Giants last season. Serving as the second-fiddle to Wayne Gallman for much of 2020, Morris ranked second among all Giants running backs in rushing attempts (55), yards (238) and yards per carry (4.3) — the latter marked Morris’ highest average since 2017.

After initially not re-signing Morris this offseason, the team opted to bring him back following a slew of injuries at the position during training camp. However, his return to New York was short-lived as he was released prior to the start of the regular season.

A former 2012 sixth-round pick out of FAU, Morris has also played for the Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers over his nine-year career. Over that span, he’s amassed 6,173 rushing yards, tallied three 1,000-plus yard rushing campaigns and scored 35 rushing touchdowns.

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Coach Judge Praises Booker’s Performance

While Booker’s stat line may have not stuck out in a positive way in Week 5, head coach Joe Judge came away with more than few positives on his new short-term starting running back.

“I think overall, from the eyeball test, he did some solid things out there for us,” Judge said of Booker. “Obviously, finishing right there in the end zone at the end, he did some tough running right there. I saw him step up on some blitz pickups. Pick up the safety off the edge a couple of times, did a nice job right there. Obviously, I’ve got to watch the tape and see exactly what he did.”

As for Booker himself, the veteran back is simply focused on what he can control moving forward.

“I can only control what I can control. The stuff that happened today with Saquon, I am just getting ready and prepared every week as if I am the starter or whatever,” Booker said. “It sucks to see him go down, now I just got to be ready.”


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