The Giants have struck early and often so far in the beginning of the league’s new year. Their biggest name they have signed so far is running back Rashad Jennings, former back-up in Oakland and Jacksonville. The terms are not yet known, but he is in East Rutherford today to sign his deal.
Jennings is 28, but only has 387 career rushing attempts and should have plenty left in the tank. He was extremely productive in the second half of last year and the Giants hope that he can carry that over into this season. Jennings was not just signed as an insurance policy for David Wilson. Jennings seems poised to break out this year as he should be given the opportunity to claim the starting role in New York.
The former Raider received lots of playing time in Oakland this past season, frequently replacing the oft injured Darren McFadden. 2013 was by far his most productive output, as he led the Raiders with 733 yards on 163 carries which is an average of 4.5 yards per attempt; a whole yard better than the most efficient Giants’ back, Andre Brown.
He is also a much needed upgrade in the passing game. Jennings had 36 catches for 292 yards, while the six Giants running backs that caught passes last year only managed 334 yards combined. Improving the screen game will be key if the team is to be successful in 2014.
Jennings adds much needed depth to a Giants running back corps that was abysmal last season. Last year the Giants leading rusher, Andre Brown, gained 492 yards on 139 carries, an average of 3.5 yards per rush. While it may seem like Brown was limited last year because of injury he received only 24 less rush attempts than Jennings last season and they each started eight of their team’s games. As of now the Giants have David Wilson, Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox as the other running backs on the roster.
The signing probably means the end of Brown’s career as a Giant. In fact he is actually seeking interest from the Raiders. According to a tweet the by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Raiders will be looking to pair the ex-Giant with Darren McFadden next season. For now, New York may have snagged Oakland’s best back.