New York Giants running back Andre Brown fractured his left leg for the second straight season which could open the door for the Giants to bring in a free agent running back to help fill the void. Brown entered this season expected to share the workload at running back with David Wilson after Ahmad Bradshaw wasn’t brought back. Brown entered the season with high hopes after scoring eight touchdowns in 10 games that also saw him rush for 385 yards on 73 carries.
Almost as soon as Brown was diagnosed with the fracture the names began to circulate on Twitter and other social media sites. Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee, Michael Turner, Ryan Grant and Tim Hightower were mentioned quite often. The running backs already on the roster like Michael Cox, Ryan Torain and Da’Rel Scott seemed to be after thoughts. Of course, none of those three have the pedigree of McGahee, Turner, Grant or even Jacobs so speculation that the Giants might bring in a name-brand running back is somewhat exciting.
Whatever happens, expect the Giants to bring in some running backs to work out if only to do their due diligence. However, there is a good chance they might sign one in an effort to bolster their running game which was already entering the season with plenty of questions.
Willis McGahee rushed for 731 yards last season on 167 carries, a 4.4 yard average and four touchdowns before going down with an injury which led the Denver Broncos to release him this off-season. He is 32-years-old and has a history of knee injuries but when healthy he is exactly the kind of power running back Tom Coughlin likes.
Michael Turner averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry but carried the ball 222 times for 800 yards and crossed the goal line 10 times last season with the Atlanta Falcons. While Turner’s best days are behind him he can still be a good change of pace back to compliment David Wilson. Turner’s biggest bugaboo for the 31-year-old is his propensity to fumble. He put the ball on the ground three times last season and has fumbled at least three times every season except one since 2008. Giants’ fans know how much Tom Coughlin loathes fumbles so that might mean Turner isn’t a good fit.
Jacobs is a familiar face to Giants fans but he barely played last season and looked cooked in his final season with the Giants. He also was never very good in short-yardage situations. Jacobs is familiar with the offense, at least a decent percentage of it and could be an option based solely on the fact that he wouldn’t need a crash course in the entire offense.
McGahee makes the most sense if he is healthy, a huge question mark these days. He says he is but even if he passes a physical can the Giants afford to invest in a 32-year-old running back with bad knees? Do they have much of a choice? McGahee showed last season he can still be a productive back and he still has some decent speed for a back his age. If his knee holds up he should be the free agent the Giants focus on.