The Giants running back situation is in a state of flux.
Incumbent starter David Wilson is currently recovering from a surgical procedure that he had on his neck on January 16, a procedure which Wilson reported some recent good news:
Even so, Giants general manager Jerry Reese has noted on multiple occasions that, while there is optimism among the team's medical staff that Wilson will be able to play in 2014, they can’t count on him being ready for the start of the season.
The rest of the Giants running back situation is crying out for new blood. Brandon Jacobs has announced his retirement after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in mid-December, which, per an announcement by the club was a procedure to repair osteo-arthritis in his left knee.
Peyton Hillis will be an unrestricted free agent, and while he told me that he would love to re-sign with the Giants, the chances for his return are 50-50 at best.
Andre Brown is also an unrestricted free agent who, over a two-year period, has twice dealt with a broken leg.
Brown, who started the 2014 season with two 100-yard rushing performances in his first three games, saw his production sharply decline each week thereafter, rushing for more than 40 yards just once in his final five games. He also lost three fumbles in his final four games.
As a result, the team might be reluctant to give Brown a hefty contract, which could result in him shopping around for a better deal.
Michael Cox will be entering his second season, though given the retirement of Kevin Gilbride and the hiring of McAdoo as the offensive coordinator, he, along with the rest of the returning members on offensive, will be starting from scratch as far as learning a new offense.
Since the Giants have traditionally been reluctant to put a rookie running back onto the field until he can demonstrate an ability to pass block, all signs seem to point toward them pursuing a veteran running back who has the pass-blocking experience they seek and who can run and catch the ball out of the back field.
Ideally, I would love them to go after Detroit’s Joique Bell, but he is a restricted free agent who may or may not be tendered, depending on what the Lions decide to do with Reggie Bush. Not surprisingly, Bell is listed as the highest-graded pending free-agent running back with a 15.1 overall grade, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), so he could be in demand if the Lions choose to tender him at a low level.
An unrestricted free agent the Giants might pursue is Houston’s Ben Tate. Named to USA Today's “All Joe Team,” Tate is coming off an injury-filled 2013 season that he gutted out with four broken ribs despite the Texans’ disastrous 2-14 season.
Just 25 years old, Tate could be in line for a rich payday that the Texans might not be able to match considering they have Arian Foster counting for $8.5 million of cap space for 2014.
Tate has played in 40 games, making nine starts. He’s rushed for 1,992 yards on 421 carries (4.7 average) and has 10 career rushing touchdowns.
As a receiver, he has 58 catches for 287 yards. However, he’s also posted 10 career fumbles, six of which have been lost; and his negative-3.6 PFF rating is the third lowest of the pending free-agent running back class, just above Andre Brown (-4.6) and Oakland’s Darren McFadden (-9.8).