The New York Giants haven’t had a strong rushing attack for years, and last season was no exception. With questions at running back heading into this season, the Giants would be wise to sign Maurice Jones-Drew.
Last season the Giants expected to have Andre Brown and David Wilson as their starters. Brown got hurt in the preseason and didn’t return until halfway through the year. Wilson struggled as both a runner and pass blocker before sustaining a season-ending injury.
There is good news for the Giants. While Wilson’s injury was originally believed to be career-threatening, the belief is the former first-round pick will be ready in time for training camp. Additionally, when Brown returned from injury he put up solid numbers — considering the state of the Giants’ offensive line and passing game.
Still, Brown is an unrestricted free agent and combined for only 106 yards on 1.95 yards-per-carry (YPC) in four of his last five games.
Jones-Drew had a disappointing season last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he was on a team that had its own struggles on offense and with the offensive line. The team’s fortunes turned around when Jones-Drew started to resemble his old self.
Jones-Drew may never again be the Pro Bowl player he was early in his career, but he is still a productive veteran back who can also contribute as a pass blocker and pass catcher — two areas that are still a question mark for Wilson. More importantly, he shouldn’t cost a lot to sign and can be a mentor to Wilson.
Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is another name that has been floated around, but he is likely to cost more on the open market; he is younger and is coming off a Super Bowl appearance. Free agents coming from teams with that kind of success often receive inflated contracts.
He’s also been far from spectacular during his five-year career, even in an offense that has given him lots of running room. Last season was easily his best and he totaled 1,038 yards with 4.3 YPC.
The Giants can certainly re-sign Brown, but they need to supplement that signing with a more established player. As with receiver, the Giants have too many uncertainties at the position to return with what they had last year. And with the many holes they have, Jones-Drew could be a bargain they can’t pass up.