The New York Giants are taking a four-year, $14 million gamble (yes, only $3 million of that guaranteed, of course) that Rashad Jennings can be their No. 1 running back. Jennings has every intention of proving that the Giants made a wise gamble.
"I did an interview a couple weeks ago and they said, ‘What's your idea of going through free agency?' I said, ‘It's my job to show one team that they're right.' I'm glad to show the Giants that they're right," Jennings said on Wednesday when the team officially announced his signing as a free agent.
"I have the same attitude every year since college," Jennings said. "Go in, earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches, lock down the playbook and go show my worth and earn a starting position. That's my mentality every year and I look forward to being used however they see my talents fitting here."
Was the signing of the 6-foot-1, 231-pound Jennings, a five-year veteran who turns 29 later this month and has never entered a season as a team's feature back a good move by the Giants? It says here that this was an outstanding move by Jerry Reese and Co.
This is what Sports Illustrated had to say in reacting to the signing of Jennings by the Giants:
This is an under-the-radar signing that could reap great dividends for the Giants, and I'm once again left to wonder what the heck the Raiders are thinking in this free-agency period. Jennings was tremendously efficient in 2013, ranking eighth in Football Outsiders' season-cumulative efficiency metrics for qualifying running backs, and fifth in per-play efficiency. He'll be an outstanding rotation back for an offense desperately looking to get back on its feet. - Doug Farrar
In 2013, Jennings played in 15 games with eight starts for the Oakland Raiders. He led the Raiders in rushing attempts (163), yards (733) and touchdowns (6). Those are all career-highs, as were the 36 passes he caught. Pro Football Focus pointed out that Jennings averaged an impressive 2.8 yards after contact in 2013.
ESPN assesses Jennings this way:
Jennings is a power runner with most of his carries between the tackles, and he is quicker than fast with a knack for gaining yards after contact. He catches the ball surprisingly well, and while he is not a game-breaker, he is a solid running back with toughness that fits the Raiders' man-blocking power style.
Jennings is a low-mileage back despite entering the season at age 29, having only 387 career carries. He has actually played four seasons, spending 2011 on IR with a knee injury.
This signing makes perfect sense for the Giants. Jennings has the size and between-the-tackles running skills Tom Coughlin likes, and has pass-catching ability new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo should be able to take advantage. He should be an upgrade from Andre Brown, and the dollar commitment isn't nearly what it would likely take to sign Ben Tate from the Houston Texans.
If Jennings proves to be an every-down back, problem solved. If not, he should at least be a solid rotational back along with Peyton Hillis and -- hopefully -- David Wilson. Again, the dollar commitment by the Giants isn't one that will kill their salary cap if they choose to try and get out from under the contract after a couple of seasons.
Personally, I see nothing nothing not to like about this move.
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?