The New York Giants are expected to sign running back, Jonathan Stewart in a move that will reunite the veteran with offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
The New York Giants missed out on their ideal ex-Carolina Panther in this week’s free agent frenzy. They are, however, welcoming in a former Charlotte-dweller, one that will reunite him with his former offensive coordinator, Mike Shula.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Giants will add veteran running back Jonathan Stewart to their backfield once free agency officially opens on Wednesday.
Former Panthers' RB Jonathan Stewart is expected to sign with the New York Giants, per source. Rejoins his former Panthers' OC Mike Shula in NY.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2018
Stewart, who turns 31 this month, previously spent his whole career with the Panthers, drafted with the 13th overall selection of the 2008 draft out of Oregon. He departs Carolina as it’s all-time leading rusher, tallying 7,318 yards over 10 seasons.
Stewart worked with Shula extensively when the latter was moved from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator prior to the 2013 season. Under Shula’s watch, Stewart tallied 3,482 yards over five seasons, including 989 yards, second highest in his career, in 2015, when the Panthers went 15-1 en route to an NFC Championship. The running back scored Carolina’s only touchdown in their 24-10 loss to Denver, a game that prevented Stewart from appearing in his first Pro Bowl.
The ex-Panther also reunites with general manager Dave Gettleman. While Gettleman was not around for Stewart’s drafting, the two held several contract negotiations during their time together. One of Gettleman’s final transactions with the Panthers was presenting Stewart with a one-year, $8 million extension in March 2017. After Gettleman’s departure in July, Stewart ran for 680 yards in his final season in Charlotte. Although he tallied seven total touchdowns, Stewart’s 3.4 average carry was the lowest of his career.
Stewart already has somewhat of a notorious place in Giants lore, thanks to a showdown in his second season in 2009. At the final Giants game held at Giants Stadium, Stewart had a career-high 206 yards, helping the Panthers close the facility with a 41-9 victory.
The signing comes hours after it was revealed that the Giants’ primary free agency target, Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, was said to agree to a five-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Giants are in a bit of a tailspin at running back. They have not had a 1,000 rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012, the same year they finished in the league’s upper half of team rushing yards. Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman, entering their third and second years respectively, remain under contract, while Shane Vereen and former starter Orleans Darkwa are free agents.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490