The New York Giants did very little as the NFL’s legal tampering window opened on Monday, re-signing defensive tackle Austin Johnson and later agreeing to terms with veteran running back Devontae Booker.
Although the full breakdown of Booker’s two-year, $6 million contract has not yet been released, the signing raised eyebrows. With little salary cap room to speak of and important in-house free agents left to deal with, spending that much on a running back was curious.
In their examination of the trade, Pro Football Focus graded Booker’s deal with the Giants as “below average.”
RB DEVONTAE BOOKER: TWO YEARS, UP TO $6 MILLION (TBD GUARANTEED)
Grade: Below Average
Booker should serve as an insurance policy for the Giants in case Saquon Barkley misses time again with injury. Booker’s largest role came as a rookie with Denver in 2016, when he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on his 174 rushing attempts. His PFF grade has risen each year since, peaking at 68.7 with Las Vegas in 2020, but Booker stands out as merely decent on the ground and as an outlet in the passing game.
Those types of running backs tend to become available for cheaper, making this an interesting decision for a team that let Dalvin Tomlinson and Kevin Zeitler walk this offseason.
What more really needs to be said? The value for a backup running back isn’t really there at $6 million over two years, but perhaps the deal will look better if there turns out to be minimal guarantees. If it’s incentive-laden and specific to playing time, that’s not a bad insurance policy to have in the event Saquon Barkley is unable to stay on the field.
Still, the Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman continue an alarming trend of overpaying for depth while failing to spend on the top-end playmakers the team so desperately needs.
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