In selecting the single free agent each NFL team should add this offseason, Pro Football Focus has made what seems like a surprising choice for the New York Giants. In a piece for ESPN Insider, PFF has selected Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy as the free agent the Giants should sign.
Here is the explanation:
There was too much pressure put on the Giants' passing attack in 2016, and they need a better threat in the running game. Rookie running back Paul Perkins has a bright future, but adding Lacy to the mix would give New York two strong options. He managed to break 19 tackles on only 71 carries in 2016 on his way to averaging 5.1 yards per carry (including 3.4 yards after contact per rush) for the Packers. Although it isn't always pretty, Lacy has done a fine job of maximizing the offensive line's blocking in his four years in the league. Between Lacy and the shifty Perkins, the Giants would have a much-improved running game.
Honestly, I don’t believe Lacy is a free agent “must have” for the Giants. Signing Lacy, though, would be a far, far better idea than getting involved with Adrian Peterson. The Minnesota Vikings’ star can flirt with the Giants all he wants, but every guy knows just because you flirt doesn’t mean you score. The Giants need, for a lot of reasons, to stay away from Peterson.
Which brings us back to Lacy.
The Giants have moved on from veteran running back Rashad Jennings, seemingly handing Paul Perkins the reigns of the running game. Perkins is a shifty back capable of making defenders miss and turning small gains into bigger ones. What he is not is a bruising power back. I wrote last month that Giants could seek a low-cost veteran power back to complement Perkins if the moved on from Jennings.
Lacy certainly fits the description of a power back. He is 5-foot-10 and is listed at 231 pounds, though who really knows what his weight is. Lacy has been productive throughout his four-year career with the Packers, never averaging less than 4.1 yards per carry. He gained more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry through five games in 2016 before going on IR due to season-ending ankle surgery.
Weight has always been a concern with Lacy, a big man who sometimes looks a little too big. He has, however, always been productive and last season’s ankle injury was the first that caused him to miss significant time.
Another positive when looking at Lacy, especially in comparison to Peterson or Jennings, is age. Lacy will only be 27 next season, while Jennings and Peterson will both be 32.
Lacy is not expected to earn big-money deal on the free agent market. Spotrac estimates his market value at $5.7 million over two years, slightly more than $2.8 million annually.
After the ups and downs of his time in Green Bay, the team that gets Lacy figures to be getting a motivated player. Especially on a one- or two-year deal.
The Giants were 29th in the league in rushing yards and 30th in rushing yards per attempt a year ago. That is why they are turning to Perkins. He will need help, though. Should the Giants sign Lacy in an effort to provide it?