Wayne Gallman’s widely perceived inevitable exit from East Rutherford appears to be soon approaching. ESPN’s Field Yates has reported that the San Francisco 49ers are hosting the former New York Giants running back on a free-agent visit.
The 49ers are hosting former Giants RB Wayne Gallman on a free agent visit. He played well stepping in for Saquon Barkley last season.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 19, 2021
The latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!
Sign up for the Heavy on Giants Newsletter!
Gallman Showed Out in 2020
Gallman greatly exceeded expectations this past season. The former fourth-round pick led the Giants in rushing in the wake of Saquon Barkley’s torn ACL suffered in Week 2. He went on to post career-highs in every major rushing statistical category, rushing for 682 yards and six touchdowns on 147 attempts over 15 games (10 starts).
With that said, the 26-year-old’s previous three seasons in the league were far less productive. From 2017-2019, Gallman appeared in 38 games, rushing the ball 191 times for 762 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, part of the reason for the timid production was due to limited usage. However, another reason was his lapses holding onto the football. Gallman fumbled the ball six times over his first three years in the league, ultimately landing in the old regime’s doghouse. Thankfully, it appears as though Gallman has gotten a grip on his fumbling issues. Despite a seismic bump in touches, he only put the football on the ground once in 2020.
Potential concerns about being a one-hit-wonder notwithstanding, Gallman would add a boost to any backfield at the right price. This reigns especially true for a 49ers team who saw Tevin Coleman leave for the Jets in free agency and with Jerrick McKinnon unlikely to return. The Niners’ current roster bolsters four running backs; Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter.
Gallman Officially Done in New York?
Gallman’s breakout campaign was expected to garner the Clemson product some serious interest on the open market this spring and ultimately price him out of Big Blue’s budget. While the latter may still remain true, his visit to San Francisco is the first reported bite Gallman’s received from an NFL team since free agency opened more than a month ago.
With presumptively few teams bidding for his services, whispers have arisen in recent weeks regarding a potential reunion between Gallman and the Giants.
“I think the door is open for him (Gallman) should the Giants not draft a running back later this month,” USA Today’s John Fennelly claimed.
In reality, Gallman’s time in New York has more than likely run its course. The writing has been on the wall ever since the team opted to hand Devontae Booker a two-year, $5.5 million contract early in free agency. The ex-Raiders running back is expected to serve as the primary backup to Barkley in 2021. Furthermore, Booker brings a far more well-rounded game to the table and the type of skill set the team is likely looking for from their second-string running back.
With Barkley set to man the majority of touches in the run game once again, Gallman’s attributes as a pure runner become far less crucial and are ultimately outweighed by what he can bring to the table as a pass-blocker, receiver and special teams contributor — all facets which Booker has excelled at throughout his career.