Despite cries from the New York Giants fanbase urging for a reunion, Wayne Gallman has taken his talents elsewhere in the conference. After failing to make the San Francisco 49ers‘ 53-man roster, the 26-year-old Georgia native opted to return to his roots, signing with the running back-needy Atlanta Falcons.
Gallman is expected to immediately factor into the Falcons’ running game behind presumptive starter Mike Davis, who the team inked to a two-year, $5.5 million contract early in the free agency period. Atlanta’s leading rusher in 2020, Todd Gurley, was shown the door this offseason at the conclusion of his one-year deal. The team also released Qadree Ollison, their fifth-round pick in 2019, to free up space for Gallman on the roster.
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Gallman Would’ve Been a Welcomed Re-Addition to NY’s Backfield
Despite ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reporting that Saquon Barkley is “trending in the right direction” and has a strong chance to take the field in Week 1 vs. the Denver Broncos, the former NFL Rookie of the Year is no guarantee for a hefty workload early in the season. Behind Barkley, the team has just veteran Devontae Booker — essentially the player the team chose over Gallman — who they view as a “legitimate three-down running back,” and rookie sixth-rounder Gary Brightwell. They recently released Corey Clement despite him leading the team in preseason rushing yards, allowing him to jump ship to division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
Gallman led the Giants in every major rushing statistical category in 2020 serving as an injury replacement for Barkley. He posted career highs in attempts (147), yards (682) and touchdowns (six). His limited special teams upside, especially when compared to Brightwell, as well as the team’s faith in Booker, likely negated the allure of reuniting with Gallman from the Giants’ perspective. Then again, with uncertainty in the backfield, it wouldn’t have hurt to plug in a player who knows the offense and has proven capable of operating behind a makeshift offensive line — averaging 4.6 yards per carry last season.
Gallman’s Offseason Misfire
We’ve always viewed Gallman as a solid player. However, the payday the Giants’ reigning leading rusher was rumored to be heading for this offseason always puzzled us. Clearly, the rest of the NFL felt a similar way. Despite the belief that the Clemson product would net a contract too rich for the G-Men’s pockets, Gallman was met with an extremely bleak free agency market.
Whether it was Gallman and his agent buying into outside hype and holding their ground on pricy contract demands, or teams deciding he wasn’t worth a hefty chunk of their payroll — or both — Gallman sat on the market until late April. He was finally scooped by the 49ers on a bargain one year, $990,000 deal ($137,500 guaranteed). However, his roster position was never secure, not in a crowded running back room headed by Raheem Mostert and rookie Trey Sermon. Jeff Wilson’s placement on the PUP list bought Gallman some time, but it wasn’t enough to etch his name in San Francisco’s backfield.
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