The 31-year-old Jonathan Stewart has been the least productive New York Giants running back in the preseason.
When New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman signed 10-year veteran running back Jonathan Stewart in March, he thought he was getting a great locker room presence that could mentor the younger players and be productive on the field when his name is called.
While Stewart’s new teammates have given him nothing but praise the type of teammate he is, his production on the field in the Giants three preseason games has been non-existent.
This pre-season, Stewart has carried the ball 10 times for minus five yards. Worst of all he fumbled in the first quarter of the Giants 22-16 victory over the New York Jets Friday night when the Giants had the ball inside the Jets 10-yard line.
BIG CAT ON THE LOOSE. #NYGvsNYJ pic.twitter.com/a249Zo2QdA
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 25, 2018
Following his fumble, Stewart did not get a carry the rest of the game.
Based on how he’s struggled and the production of the other Giants backs this preseason, Stewart might be on the outside looking in when the Giants announce their 53 man roster on Sept. 1.
At this point, Stewart is at best the fifth best running back on the roster behind Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jalen Simmons and Jhurell Pressley. Each of the other four backs have had at least one carry for over 10 yards, with Gallman and Simmons have found the end zone.
What makes Stewart’s lack of production standout even more is that Pressley has only been in camp for a week and has been quicker and more productive than Stewart.
When the Giants signed Stewart this offseason, some looked at the signing with a raised eyebrow considering he was coming off the worst season of his career. A season where he averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. Some felt that he was past his prime and based how he’s performed in the Giants preseason games, Stewart has done little to erase those doubts.
Over a month ago we did a piece on how Stewart was one of the veterans that were on the bubble to make the team. With cut day less than a week away, our assessment seems to be spot on.
According to spotrac, the Giants would have $3.325 million in dead cap money if they decide to cut the 31-year-old.
But with the Giants facing the eighth most difficult schedule and looking to start the Pat Shurmur/Dave Gettleman regime with a winning season, it’s more important that they fill the best 53 man roster possible than worrying about a $3.325 million cap hit.
Stewart still has one more chance of trying to salvage his preseason play. The Giants won’t play Barkley and possibly Gallman in their preseason finale against the Patriots on Thursday night. So Stewart should see some action in the first quarter.
If he has a good outing on Thursday, the Giants may elect to keep on the roster as a short yardage back and as a leader in the locker room.
But, if he doesn’t perform well, his tenure with the Giants will be a short one.