Twitter was abuzz with news that the Giants have agreed to terms with former Patriots running back Shane Vereen. The 5’10”, 200 lbs Vereen spent four seasons with the Patriots, most recently, picked up a championship ring when he caught 11 passes en route to Patriots 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl 49. He will provide Eli Manning with an upgraded receiving option out of the backfield, is a big play threat when he catches the ball, and everything points to Vereen being a big weapon out of the backfield. So why is Giants360 skeptical about this signing? Simple, at 3 years, $12 million dollars, with $5 million guaranteed, or 4 years, $16 million, both of which have been reported, it would appear the Giants overpaid.
If Vereen were an every down back coming in to challenge Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams for a starting role and significant playing time, those numbers, even if 100% guaranteed, would be reasonable. Without the contract structure available, the true nature of the contract can’t be determined, but it’s evident that Vereen will be the highest paid running back on the team, and will be a role player. This for a back who has had one 16 games season in 4 games and never broken the 1,000 yard mark in total scrimmage in his career. He posted career highs in carries in carrier and receptions in 2014 with 96 and 52 respectively.
Vereen will surely provide a boost to the Giants West Coast offense, but isn’t durable enough to be a feature back. He will also improve the Giants third down offense, an area the team has struggled with in recent seasons, but he will be hard to keep on the field. Hamstring, foot, groin, and wrist injuries have sidelined him and represent an awfully long list of ailments for a running back that is still only 26 years old.
After several days of coming close and not landing his man, Jerry Reese may have raised the budget in order to avoid losing out on Vereen. The question will remain outstanding as to whether he was the right player to push forward on if his injury history makes this investment unwise. This debate won’t be settled until August when the players take the field at the earliest, and most likely not until September when Vereen’s usage by Ben McAdoo is clear to anyone not inside the coaches room.
The Giants are also re-signing Chris Ogbannaya, who appeared in 2 games last season as an injury replacement for Jennings. He did not carry the ball or have a target in the passing game. This is probably a depth signing at the position, giving a veteran a chance to showcase his wares and compete for a roster spot in camp.
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