An injury to Andre Brown in the preseason finale suddenly thinned the New York Giants' backfield depth, forcing the team to explore the free-agent market for another running back. And following a season-opener in which starter David Wilson coughed up the ball twice and fell into Tom Coughlin's doghouse for a second consecutive season, the team is looking around for help again.
Last week, the Giants showed interest in Beanie Wells, Jonathan Dwyer, Leon Washington, Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith and Tim Hightower. Add a familiar face in Brandon Jacobs, as well as Willis McGahee, Delone Carter and Joe McKnight to the mix now.
According to reports, Jacobs will work out for the Giants on Tuesday, along with Wells and Hightower. There's certainly a question as to what Jacobs, 31, has left in the tank, especially since he had such a minor role with the San Francisco 49ers last season.
The same goes for Hightower, who worked out for the Giants multiple times during the offseason, but was not signed by the Giants nor the Washington Redskins. He has yet to play since 2011.
Wells, who worked out for the team earlier this month, left the facility without a contract -- as did Washington, who has since re-signed with the New England Patriots, and Dwyer, who is reportedly returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The more interesting names on the list are McGahee, who was released by the Denver Broncos during the offseason, and Carter, who was traded from the Indianapolis Colts following the acquisition of Ahmad Bradshaw, then released shortly after by the Baltimore Ravens. As is McKnight, who played across town for the New York Jets and also contributed on kick return.
According to ESPN, the Giants planned to work out McGahee since Friday, so the interest has only skyrocketed in the aftermath of the Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. McGahee fell out of favor in Denver with the surplus of young backs on the roster, but the veteran is coming off of a 731-yard season and is just two years removed from a 1,200-yard season.
Entering his third season in the NFL, Carter has yet to have a major role, so while he is younger than McGahee he's also less proven. In 16 career games with the Colts, Carter has totaled 499 yards and five touchdowns, and at 225 pounds could provide that thunder to Wilson's lightning in the Giants' backfield. Though at 26, it's curious why he could not catch on with either the Colts or Ravens in a reserve role.
A former All-Pro kick returner, McKnight never panned out as a running back with New York. But like Carter, he's 25 and has never had too much of an opportunity in the backfield. Playing in 30 games over the past two seasons, McKnight has totaled 313 yards and has lost three fumbles.
[Note by Ed Valentine, 09/09/13 11:32 AM EDT: Jonathan Dwyer, among the backs who worked out for the Giants last week, has re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.]