Giants sign Devonta Freeman to replace Saquon Barkley

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Devonta Freeman is heading to the New York Giants

The New York Giants, already burdened with an 0-2 start, were thrown into panic mode when superstar running back Saquon Barkley saw his 2020 cut short after tearing his ACL in the first half of their game against the Chicago Bears.

Rather than turn to veteran options on the roster like Dion Lewis or youngsters like Wayne Gallman, Joe Judge opted to sign a quality free agent in former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman.

Mike Garofolo is reporting that the Giants will sign Freeman provided that he passes all of the mandatory COVID-19 tests.

Devonta Freeman is looking to star for the first time in his career without the presence of Kyle Shanahan

Freeman, a former fourth-round pick out of Florida State, emerged as a star in Shanahan’s offense with the Falcons. During the two years he and Shanahan were together, Freeman topped 1,500 yards from scrimmage in both seasons while totaling 27 touchdowns, including an NFL-best 14 in 2016. He was an integral part of the offense that helped the Falcons make it to a Super Bowl.

Post-Shanahan life, as if often the case for running backs, has been less rosy. Freeman has missed 18 games due to injury and saw his yards per carry average dip from 4.5 in 2016 and 2017 to 3.6 in 2019. After being replaced by former Rams running back Todd Gurley in Atlanta and failing to have his asking price met this offseason, Freeman sat on the couch until a running back-needy team gave him a call.

While it’s easy to label Freeman as a shot fighter, he did have some nice moments as a runner and receiver in a Dirk Koetter offense that liked to air it out down the field. He isn’t going to fully replace Barkley, but this is a solid signing given the dearth of options available on the market.

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