NFC East Free Agency: 3 RBs New York Giants Could Replace Brandon Jacobs with
However, the G-Men could go the free-agency route and find a more all-around back than Jacobs and still maintain their effective rotation with Ahmad Bradhsaw.
Although the franchise has been synonymous with power running, the Giants as of today are a passing team who go only as far as Manning's arm and his receivers allow. The ground game is now required to compliment rather than lead the offense.
The running back market has thinned considerably, but there are some experienced options the Giants may consider. Here are the best three:
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
Addai is an intelligent runner, possessing a versatile skill set, who could turn out to be a very useful weapon for Eli Manning. Released by the Colts in early March, Addai has the versatility to give the Giants more options on offense.
The 28-year-old is an excellent receiver from a variety of positions and would be an invaluable short-range target for Manning. With question marks at tight end and with the departure of third wideout Mario Manningham, the Giants could use another outlet in the passing game.
Addai is also a deceptively quick runner with a knack for finding the end zone. The 5'11", 214-pounder has above-average strength and some nifty moves. He would be an excellent addition for Big Blue.
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Thomas Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
Thirty-three-year-old Thomas Jones could be a smart pickup for the G-Men, used in tandem with Bradshaw. Jones has long defied arguments that running backs have a limited window in the NFL.
The 5'10", 212-pounder is a tough inside runner who is still as effective between the tackles as any power back in the league. He would provide the appropriate compliment to the speed and big-play ability of Bradshaw.
If there is one set of fans who should never be put off by the age of a running back, it is the Giants faithful. Thirty-three-year-old Ottis Anderson helped power the team to victory in Super Bowl 25.
Tom Coughlin was on that staff, so he knows the merits of being able to rely on a dependable and experienced physical runner.
Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins
There is a lot to recommend Hightower to the Giants. Like Addai, he offers a versatility that would help expand the playbook and increase the options around Manning.
The 25-year-old is an excellent pass protector and receiver. He possesses good size at 6'0" and 222 pounds, but also offers surprising breakaway speed.
Hightower is a punishing and direct runner, capable of producing some long runs. He has some NFC East experience having made five starts for the Washington Redskins in 2011 before injury struck.
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His ACL injury means Hightower faces a battle to regain his best form, and he would have to prove that he is back to full fitness. If so he could be a surprisingly effective weapon for the Giants offense.
With offensive line, tight end and linebacker still representing pressing needs heading into the draft, the Giants may not wish to use their first-round pick on a runner.
The rushing attack has always functioned thanks to a by-committee approach under Kevin Gilbride. Signing one of these veterans leaves room for a late-round draftee and ensures that rotation remains in place.
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