The San Francisco 49ers are not yet fully staffed at the running back position. As such, the team reportedly took the time early this week to visit with a free agent out of the NFC East who could add depth to the roster this coming season.
ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the 49ers met with Wayne Gallman, most recently of the New York Giants, on Monday, April 19.
Gallman filled in for Saquon Barkley last season, after the Giants star running back was sidelined due to an ACL he suffered in his right knee during a Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Gallman Has History of Production That Could Help 49ers
The 26-year-old Gallman is a four-year veteran of the NFL. He posted the best campaign of his career in 2020, rushing for 682 yards on 4.6 yards per carry. He also found the end zone on six occasions.
Gallman, who played his collegiate football for Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers, can catch passes out of the backfield, as well. He pulled in 21 receptions last season for a total of 114 yards through the air.
As important as overall production is how often a running back actually finds himself on the field to produce. Gallman appeared in 15 games last season, starting 10 of them, displaying a level of durability coveted by the 49ers after a season defined by injuries.
The 49ers Dealt With Multitude of Backfield Injuries Last Year
San Francisco is far from short of talent at the running back position, but much of that talent had a difficult time staying healthy over the course of 2020.
Raheem Mostert, the team’s top running back, played in only eight games last season. He left two of them prematurely with injury. In total, Mostert found his way to the injured list three times — once for an MCL sprain, and twice for high-ankle sprains.
Jeff Wilson Jr. is currently No. 2 on the 49ers RB depth chart. While Wilson Jr. put together a solid season, leading the team with 600 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, he also struggled to stay on the field. The running back played in a total of 12 games, hampered by similar ankle troubles to those that plagued Mostert.
JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter rounded out the 49ers running back depth chart at the end of last season, per ESPN.com. Adding Gallman to the mix would provide some extra security behind San Francisco’s top two backfield producers, and he may challenge for a regular spot in the rotation even if the entire roster at that position remains healthy.
Much of the talk surrounding the 49ers in recent days has centered on what rookie quarterback the team will choose with its No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. A less popular, though potentially equally important, discussion in the short-term involves what moves San Francisco will make to shore up a backfield that was full of injuries last season.