Wayne Gallman: A Free Agent Priority for the New York Giants in 2021

Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants drafted running back Wayne Gallman in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He is now working under his fourth NFL head coach in Joe Judge and his second general manager in Dave Gettleman.

After this season, Gallman’s contract expires and he will be a free agent. Gallman is an underdog for a contract extension at the moment because he came from Jerry Reese‘s last draft class. As much as it seems crazy, the Giants should prioritize bringing Gallman back in the 2021 off-season.

Wayne Gallman Should Be a Priority for the Giants This Off-Season

Background

Over the last few years, the New York Giants have endured a poor running game. Whether it was due to a lack of talent at the running back position or the offensive line’s poor play, it was an issue for Big Blue.

The Giants drafted a running back in three straight drafts. Saquon Barkley became the shiniest addition to the New York Giants running game in 2018, where in his rookie year, he eclipsed over 1,000 yards on the ground and over 2,000 scrimmage yards.

2019

Unfortunately, Barkley injured his ankle and missed three games in 2019. Unexpectedly, he reached over 1,000 yards that year as well.

During that time, the New York Giants game needed a solid backup to fill his shoes in his absence. In his first game as the primary back, Gallman scored two scrimmage touchdowns and rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries (3.5 per carry). Unfortunately, a concussion sidelined Gallman against the Minnesota Vikings and again against the New England Patriots.

From then on, Pat Shurmur and his coaching staff favored newly-signed veteran running back Javorius Allen to be Saquon Barkley’s backup. The Giants ruled Gallman a healthy scratch for the last five games of the 2019 season.

2020

Wayne Gallman made the Giants 53-man roster for the fourth year in a row and this time with a new set of coaches. Unfortunately in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and doctors ruled him out for the season. The Giants gave Gallman another shot.

Though the team signed veteran Devonta Freeman and made him the primary back, Gallman still showed his athleticism as the team’s backup. After Big Blue sent Freeman to IR, Gallman started as the number one back from Week 8 until now.

With the offensive line improving, Gallman, up to this point (Week 14), has reached the height of his young career. He has 504 yards on the ground and has found the end zone six times. He rushed for a career-high 135 rushing yards against the Seattle Seahawks, who ranked as the third best rushing defense in the NFL.

Why Is Gallman a Priority?

With Saquon Barkley coming off an ACL tear, the New York Giants will have to ease him back to 100 percent health in 2021. All of the current Giants running backs are set to be free agents in next year’s class. Wayne Gallman will be 27 and is the best option for a back up running back.

Gallman has shown time and time again that he is the best option for the Giants as a cowbell running back behind Barkley. Dion Lewis, Alfred Morris, and Devonta Freeman are all aging free-agents in 2021.

The New York Giants could be looking to trade Barkley in the next two seasons, as running backs have short careers in the NFL. Not to mention, Barkley will be looking for a big payday that the Giants may not be prepared to invest in. Combined with the injuries, lack of winning, among other factors, the Giants have wasted Barkley’s short career up to this point.

Plus, if the Giants believe the narrative that you cannot win with a top-five running back, they need to be prepared with depth. With the way Wayne Gallman is playing right now, whether the Giants move on from Barkley or not, he should be a top priority for Big Blue this off-season.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images