Wayne Gallman will be deserving of a lot next year. It’s unlikely the Giants will be able to provide any of it for him though.
Saquon Barkley’s torn ACL absolutely changed the 2020 season for New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman. A guy who was a healthy scratch that game and seemed to be on his way out of the main running back fold for Big Blue was soon a starter and clutch component of the team’s late-season four-game win streak.
His season was a lot different than originally expected. And thus, it may affect the outcome of his 2021 campaign.
Gallman proved this past year that he has a place in this league. He’s capable of stepping up and gaining significant average yardage even if the offensive line in front of him isn’t all too perfect.
In 2020, he notched career-highs in rushing yards (682), total touchdowns (six), yards per carry (4.6), scrimmage yards (796), and rushing yards per game (45.5), all with an average-at-best Giants line and mediocre offensive skill players that couldn’t consistently take pressure off of him.
Gallman deserves a significant amount; he deserves the opportunity to compete for a starting job in the NFL as well as a decent chunk of change in a new contract, which is set to be signed this offseason.
But while we don’t exactly know who that deal will be with, it’s not really looking like it will be with the team that drafted him back in 2017, unfortunately.
Let’s consider what we previously mentioned: the opportunity to potentially start and a decent chunk of change.
For one, Gallman isn’t going to receive a starting opportunity with the Giants, regardless of what he was capable of doing on the field in 2020. Barkley is (hopefully) returning better than ever, and given his size, speed, strength, versatility, and ability to assist in Daniel Jones‘ development, Jason Garrett will utilize him in all walks of life when the Giants are in possession of the football.
This would revert Gallman to a backup role, where he wouldn’t receive the number of on-field chances he earned in 2020.
There’s additionally the financials that will come into play, and the Giants already need to worry about that with Saquon. Being that Barkley is entering his fourth year in the league, there’s a chance the Giants could make a contract-related decision with the former No. 2 overall selection; they may either exercise his fifth-year option or extend his contract for the long term.
The organization should execute the former of the two aforementioned moves, but regardless, a decision on his Giants future could indeed be made in the coming months. Not to mention, co-owner John Mara recently stated he expects Saquon to remain with the team “for a very long time,” which could indeed close the door on a possible Gallman extension.
Gallman won’t be absurdly expensive, but he may not necessarily be cheap either; he’ll likely want a much higher average annual salary than $705,000 (his current AAS).
So where does Wayne go in the event that he does actually leave his first NFL team?
A number of landing spots could be in play. A team like the Patriots might look to add him to the mix and so may the Jets. The latter doesn’t exactly employ a concrete starter for next year. Frank Gore is a free agent this offseason and it’s unclear what the 37-year-old’s next career move will be. La’Mical Perine, on the other hand, may not be a complete every-down back nor as talented as Gallman is at the moment.
This also all may lead to the Giants re-signing Alfred Morris (who won’t be as expensive as Gallman) to another cheap, short-term deal to back up Barkley. The Giants could additionally add someone via free agency, such as Leonard Fournette, Marlon Mack, or Mark Ingram, all of whom are currently set to be on the market.
Wayne Gallman underwent a good run with Big Blue and experienced a better-than-expected 2020 season, regardless of the circumstances that led to him performing in a starting role. But in spite of all that, the time to part ways has likely arrived.