He’s back! Brandon Jacobs, who played with the New York Giants from 2005 to 2011 and was a part of two Super Bowl championships, is interested in returning to the team. And New York is reportedly open to the possibility of his return.
The unrestricted free-agent running back will be 31 years old in July. He is coming off a tumultuous 2012 season with the San Francisco 49ers that saw him carry the ball only five times and garner a three-game suspension that ended his season in early December.
The Giants' actual interest in bringing back Jacobs is somewhat hypothetical at this point. There are no quotes on the record from anyone within the organization actually stating that it is interested.
Frankly, it should stay that way, because Big Blue would be foolish to even consider wanting Jacobs back in a Giants uniform in 2013.
It’s not that Jacobs couldn’t potentially help, though even that assumption is highly debatable. He was okay for New York in 2011, rushing for 571 yards and seven touchdowns. At the same time, he only averaged 3.8 yards per carry and 2.56 yards per attempt after contact.
The latter number is important because if Jacobs were brought back, his role would almost definitely be as a goal-line and short-yardage specialist. David Wilson will likely start and get a majority of the carries with Andre Brown firmly in the mix as well.
If you are only average at breaking tackles and moving the pile (his 2011 yards per attempt after contact number placed him 28 out of 56 running backs—the criteria was 85 carries or more) then you don’t figure to be effective in a role that requires scoring short touchdowns and getting critical 3rd-and-short conversions when contact is virtually a foregone conclusion.
That job should go to Brown, who was the goal-line back for a good portion of 2012. He scored eight touchdowns last season and garnered an impressive 3.36 yards per attempt after contact.
Still, Jacobs is probably better than Ryan Torain, the Giants' current third running back. He would also come pretty cheap, likely at or close to the veteran’s minimum considering his age and the fact that he has received no interest on the free-agent market.
Why not bring him on as insurance in case the injury-prone Brown gets hurt again, like he did at the end of last season?
Because Jacobs likes to complain, a lot, if he is not getting playing time, so he would almost definitely make a fuss as the third, or even second, running back next season. And the Giants simply don’t need that distraction from a role player.
Let’s take a stroll down whining lane with Mr. Jacobs.
Last season with the 49ers, Jacobs was injured for the first month of the season due to a knee injury he sustained in the preseason. When he was eligible to return in the fourth game of the season, the 49ers decided to keep him inactive. Their running game was doing just fine without Jacobs, with the likes of Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter carrying the load.
Jacobs only played in two games all season and his frustration finally boiled over on Instagram in early December, courtesy of Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com:
I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners. This is by far the worst year I ever had, I'll tell you like I told plenty others.
Now it’s understandable to be frustrated when you sit out virtually a whole season, even when you are healthy for more than 75 percent of it.
But in 2011, he played in 14 games and received 152 carries, yet he still wasn’t happy.
In mid-October, Jacobs was on the verge of coming back from an injury that cost him two games. He was asked about the impact of his return and had this to say, as told by Tom Rock at Newsday:
"When I say 'play' I mean do what I was doing before, three, four carries, five carries," he said. "Whatever they ask."
A few moments later he was asked about the lift his return can give the team.
"It's only going to be a mental lift," he said. "Justin [Tuck], he actually takes 60-70 plays a game. Me, I'll come back and help as much as I can with what I get to help with. I'm looking forward to helping as much as I can with the chances I'm given."
OK, let’s give Brandon another pass. He wasn’t having a great season up to that point. Before the injury, he racked up a mere 116 yards on 3.1 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns in the first four games of the season.
Oh no, Jacobs complained the year before as well, this time before the season even started. He wasn’t happy that Ahmad Bradshaw had taken over as the featured running back in training camp and had this to say in early September, nine days before Week 1, courtesy of Matt Mosley at ESPN.com:
No one's your friend in this business. This is a cutthroat, backstabbing business. That's just the way it goes. It's been like that before me. If you expect anything else out of a business like this, you're crazy … If I would have stayed making minimum, this wouldn't be a problem. Once you get paid, you're always in danger of running into problems like this. It doesn't matter who you are or what team or organization you play for, that's just the way it is.
Jacobs conveniently overlooks the fact that Bradshaw outplayed him in 2009, with a better yards per carry (4.8 vs. 3.7) and more touchdowns (seven vs. five).
As a side note, I’ll retroactively take your 2010 contract Brandon if it is causing you so many problems.
Actually, saying Jacobs complains a lot might be an understatement. It takes a rare level of whining to have the The Onion do a parody story on you.
Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and the Giants organization need to stay far away from Jacobs. With his history, Jacobs might start complaining about a lack of carries in May minicamp if he ends up on an NFL team in the next month.