Giants sign 30-year-old running back Jonathan Stewart despite recent struggles

Giants turn focus toward Patriots mainstay after losing top target

Modal Trigger Nate Solder AP

The Giants today added both skill and experience to their offensive backfield when they signed Jonathan Stewart, who spent his first 10 National Football League seasons with the Carolina Panthers. More of a straight rusher than threat in the passing game, Stewart had 198 carries for 680 rushing yards last season, averaging a career-low 3.4 yards per carry.

The Giants were 26th in rushing yards and tied for 28th in rushing touchdowns in 2017, so Stewart fills a need at running back to some extent.

Vintage Stewart showed up that week as he rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished with 1,295 receiving yards and 58 total touchdowns during his tenure. Shula served in the same role for the Panthers for five seasons from 2013-17. Rebuilding teams shouldn't be signing 30-year-old running backs.

Giants backs Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen are both set to be unrestricted free agents. The Panthers also used the No. 8 overall draft selection past year on running back Christian McCaffrey.

Stewart will likely compete with Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins for the Giants' starting job during training camp and the preseason.

However, he was inconsistent at best in 2017, and Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer even called for his benching in November after a particularly rough stretch when he failed to run for 50 yards in seven of eight games and even tallied minus-four rushing yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants also own the No. 2 selection in the upcoming NFL Draft and have been rumored to be interested in Penn State running back and top prospect Saquon Barkley.

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