Jonathan Stewart (RB)

Giants’ Stewart Returns To Practice

Jonathan Stewart‘s season might not be over. The Giants designated the running back to return to practice, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

A foot injury landed Stewart on injured reserve in September and the Giants have been cautiously optimistic about getting him back on the field. The Giants have a three-week use-it-or-lose-it window to activate the veteran starting today. If he is not placed on the 53-man roster by Dec. 6, he will be barred from playing for the Giants this year.

Of course, the Giants aren’t playing for much at this juncture of the year. Even after their win against the 49ers, the G-Men are 2-7 and likely ticketed for another high draft pick.

Rookie Saquon Barkley continues to impress and Stewart didn’t see a whole lot of work before his injury, so it will be interesting to see how he’s used when/if he comes back. In nine games, Barkley has averaged 4.5 yards per carry while adding 62 catches for 530 yards and seven touchdowns in total. In Stewart’s three games before the injury, he logged six carries for 17 yards.

The Giants have Stewart under contract through next year, but they can save $2.625MM by releasing him with just $250K in dead money. This could be Stewart’s chance to cement his place on the Giants’ 2019 roster and avoid going through free agency as a 32-year-old running back.

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East Rumors: Cowboys, Giants, Fins, Pats

Tony Romo was never going to play for a club other than the Cowboys before retiring last spring, owner Jerry Jones told reporters, including Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). At one point, teams such as the Broncos and Texans discussed a trade for Romo, but ultimately decided to wait and see if he was released by Dallas. Romo also later admitted that he considered the Jets before hanging up his cleats, but it sounds as though it was Cowboys-or-bust for the veteran signal-caller. Indeed, at least one report last fall indicated Romo would only come out of retirement to play for the Cowboys, but Dak Prescott never suffered any injury that forced Dallas to call its longtime quarterback.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Running back Jonathan Stewart is now on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury, but the veteran could conceivably return to the Giants this season, tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. New York head coach Pat Shurmur said Stewart will be sidelined for eight weeks, the exact amount of time he’d be forced to miss due to the NFL’s IR/return rules. Stewart, who signed a two-year, $6.9MM deal with the Giants earlier this year, had received just six carries in three games, amassing only 17 rushing yards for his new team. With Stewart, New York will use Wayne Gallman as the top backup to Saquon Barkley.
  • The Dolphins attempted to trade defensive tackle Jordan Phillips before cutting him earlier today, reports Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The news isn’t all that surprising, as most clubs try to deal players before releasing them and receiving no value. However, Phillips has never lived up to his second-round draft status and also had a sideline disagreement with Miami coaches on Sunday, so the trade market for his services wasn’t large. Though four games, Phillips saw action on 124 defensive snaps. He had a season-high 46 snaps in Week 3 against the Raiders, but his usage dropped back down to 25 snaps in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Pats.
  • The Patriots will need to make a roster move before activating Julian Edelman off suspension this week, leading Doug Kyed of NESN to look at candidates to be moved off New England’s active roster. The two most obvious players who could be cut are offensive lineman Cole Croston and defensive end Keionta Davis, both of whom were healthy scratches on Sunday. Elsewhere on the roster, defender Geneo Grissom would likely pass through waivers, so the Patriots could waive him and hope to bring him back to their practice squad.
  • With their 2018 campaign looking like a lost cause, the Bills should consider trade offers for running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, argues Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. McCoy, of course, still has an investigation hanging over his head, so it’s unclear if there’d be any market for him. Benjamin, meanwhile, hasn’t been effective since joining Buffalo in 2017, and has posted just seven catches in through four games this year. McCoy is signed through 2019, while Benjamin’s contract expires next spring.

Giants’ Jonathan Stewart Heading To IR

Jonathan Stewart‘s tenure with the Giants may not include any more games. The team will place the veteran running back on injured reserve, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets.

To replace Stewart on the 53-man roster, the Giants will promote wide receiver Jawill Davis from their practice squad, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan tweets.

A foot injury was set to keep Stewart out this weekend against the Saints, and it will shelve the 11th-year veteran for at least two months. However, Stewart doesn’t appear to be an IR-return candidate given his role through thus far.

Stewart’s received just six carries in three Giants games, amassing just 17 rushing yards for his new team. He’s played behind Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman. Stewart, 31, is signed for another season with the Giants. He inked a two-year, $6.9MM deal in March, but most of the $2.95MM in guarantees were due this season. It would only cost Big Blue $250K to cut the longtime starter in 2019.

Long the 1-B option alongside DeAngelo Williams with the Panthers, Stewart emerged as Carolina’s top running back for a few years after Williams departed. He started in Super Bowl 50, scoring the Panthers’ only touchdown of that game, and made his only Pro Bowl during that 2015 season. Stewart scored 23 touchdowns over the past three years, but the Panthers released him prior to free agency’s outset.

Giants Notes: Latimer, Receivers, Hill, Stewart

Wide receiver Cody Latimer has had an up and down journey since entering the NFL. He came into the league as a second round pick of the Broncos in 2014, but never really established himself as a receiving threat. He was immediately labeled a bust by fans and media, and was never really able to recover. Latimer was able to stick in Denver by becoming an elite special teams player, excelling on kick coverage units.

This past year, Latimer finally began to catch some passes. After never cracking 100 yards receiving his first three seasons, he racked up 287 last year along with two touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 15.1 yards per catch and parlayed that progress along with his special teams prowess into a one-year $2.5MM contract with the Giants. Now with New York, Latimer has already been making an impression. He’s reportedly done well during offseason workouts, and the Giants’ number three receiving job is now “his to lose” according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com.

Latimer appears to have turned his career around, and looks likely to have the biggest offensive role in his career this upcoming season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent again this March, and if he shows well for the Giants, he should be able to cash in.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Behind Latimer, the Giants’ receiving situation is less clear, writes Lombardo. He views Russell ShepardKalif Raymond, and Travis Rudolph as all being on the roster bubble, likely fighting for one spot. Whoever shows they can make the biggest impact on special teams may win the three way battle.
  • Defensive lineman B.J. Hill will be starting as a rookie, according to Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. The third rounder from NC State has reportedly impressed this offseason, and Dunleavy is quite confident he’ll be starting on the outside of the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He calls Hill a “shrewd pick” and adds that while Josh Mauro will “enter the mix” when he returns from suspension, for now it’s Hill’s job.
  • Dunleavy thinks the team wouldn’t have signed veteran running back Jonathan Stewart had they known Saquon Barkley would be available for them to draft at number two. The Giants apparently feared the Browns would take Barkley first overall, and signed Stewart as insurance. Now, instead of carrying the ball, Stewart’s “main role will be as a locker room leader and conduit” for GM Dave Gettleman, writes Dunleavy.
  • In case you missed it, check out another round of Giants notes from yesterday.

Giants Sign RB Jonathan Stewart

Jonathan Stewart has reunited with old friend Dave Gettleman. The Giants will sign the veteran running back, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Stewart’s pact is for two years and has a base value of $6.9MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who adds Stewart gets $2.95MM in guarantees and can max out at $8.4MM.

ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets the expectation is that the veteran running back will cost $3.425 MM vs. the salary cap in 2018. His contract includes incentives for rushing yards and touchdowns, and also includes a $500,000 option bonus for next year.

The Giants have several needs to address this offseason, including running back. Last year’s top rusher, Orleans Darkwa, is ticketed for free agency and it’s not clear if he’ll be back in the fold. Even if Darkwa is retained, Stewart can serve as veteran depth. Regardless of how the backfield shakes out, it’s hard to envision that Stewart will be relied on as the team’s RB1.

Stewart averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry last season but he did play in 15 games, his most since the 2011 campaign. He previously visited the Seahawks and Lions, but they’ll have to find running back help elsewhere.

As of this writing, the Giants still have plenty of free agent running back options at their disposal. They could also spend their free agent dollars elsewhere and use the No. 2 overall pick on Penn State star Saquon Barkley, if he is available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jonathan Stewart To Visit Giants

Jonathan Stewart will make his third offseason visit since the Panthers released him, and a familiar face figures to be a big part of it.

The veteran running back will head east for a Giants meeting, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Dave Gettleman was not part of the regime that drafted Stewart in the 2008 first round, but he did serve as Carolina’s GM for four seasons.

While Gettleman has made the offensive line a bigger priority, the Giants are in need of backfield help. They have not had a particularly strong stable of running backs since Ahmad Bradshaw‘s departure. However, Big Blue could be a candidate to draft Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. That would mean passing on a quarterback, so it can’t be assumed the Giants are a surefire Barkley destination.

Stewart averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry last season but did play in 15 games — his most since the 2011 season. He visited the Seahawks and Lions already this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions To Meet With RB Jonathan Stewart

Former Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is scheduled to visit with the Lions on Monday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Stewart’s visit is taking place before DeMarco Murray touches down in Detroit later on today.

Stewart was released by the Panthers late last month after ten seasons with Carolina. Late last week, he took his first free agent visit with the Seahawks, but did not sign right away.

Last year, Stewart didn’t put together much of a stat line as he played behind rookie Christian McCaffrey. It’s possible that a change of scenery, a different blocking scheme, or a different complement in the backfield could improve Stewart’s output. He is on the verge of his 31st birthday, but Stewart’s isn’t that far removed from his 2015 season in which he averaged 4.1 yards per carry and qualified for the Pro Bowl.

The Lions had the worst rushing production in the NFL last year, so they are open to all options this offseason.

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Seahawks Host Jonathan Stewart On Visit

Former Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is visiting the Seahawks on Thursday, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Garafolo adds that Seattle is looking at “all options” to ignite the running game. 

The Panthers cut Stewart, one of their longest-tenured players, in late February. Stewart found his role downsized in Carolina, but he may get an opportunity for more carries elsewhere. After a backfield combo involving free agent pickup Eddie Lacy flopped in 2017, the Panthers are searching high and low for solutions.

It’s not clear if Stewart has a whole lot left in the tank at this point in his career. In his younger days, Stewart impressed with 1,133 yards and ten touchdowns in the 2009 season. In 2011, he turned in a career-high average of 5.4 yards per carry. He also flirted with 1,000 yards as recently as 2015. However, he didn’t do much last season as had a career-low 3.4 yards per tote behind rookie Christian McCaffrey.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Cut RB Jonathan Stewart

Running back Jonathan Stewart has been cut by the Panthers, according to a source who spoke with Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Stewart, 31 in March, has spent all ten of his NFL seasons in Carolina. "<strong

Stewart first entered the league as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Panthers. He wasn’t necessarily a superstar, but he has had a long and productive career in black and blue. In 2009, Stewart ran for 1,133 yards and ten touchdowns. In 2011, he managed to top that season in terms of efficiency with a career 5.4 yards per carry. After dealing with some injuries, Stewart nearly got his second career 1,000 yard season in 2015. He missed the mark by 11 yards as he missed three regular season games, but he did earn his first career Pro Bowl selection that year.

The Panthers inked Stewart to a one-year extension last offseason. Per the terms of the deal, the Panthers will have $3.72MM by cutting him with $1.5MM in dead money against the cap. Stewart’s release, along with this week’s cuts of safety Kurt Coleman and defensive end Charles Johnson, will create some much needed flexibility for the Panthers this offseason.

Stewart’s role was downsized a bit last year with the addition of rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. Stewart was unable to deliver as a complementary piece, turning in a career low 3.4 yards per carry average. He didn’t factor much into the passing game either with just eight receptions for 52 yards.

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NFC South Notes: Saints, Manziel, Falcons

Saints head coach Sean Payton had breakfast with free agent quarterback Johnny Manziel last week, but New Orleans has no plans to sign Manziel, a team source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Indeed, Payton says his meeting with Manziel was focused on getting to know the young signal-caller, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. In early March, there was word that Manziel was drawing “real” NFL interest, and Manziel says he is sober and focusing on his comeback.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Falcons hope to come to an extension agreement with cornerback Desmond Trufant “very soon,” Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff tells Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Earlier this month, a report indicated the Falcons and Trufant were nearing a “lucrative” long-term deal, but no announcement has since been made by the club. Atlanta is also planning to get a contract with running back Devonta Freeman “wrapped up,” per Dimitroff. In January, Freeman was said to be seeking “elite” running back money, but he and his agent have since walked those comments back.
  • Veteran guard Chris Chester isn’t in the Falcons‘ plans for 2017, and the team ultimately expects him to retire, according to Marvez. Chester, entering his age-34 season, was the weak link on a solid Atlanta offensive line in 2016. PFR pointed to right guard as an area of need when assessing the Falcons’ offseason strategy, and while the club has only added Hugh Thornton in free agency, they could still address the interior offensive line in the draft.
  • Jonathan Stewart‘s extension with the Panthers is for one year, but the new deal affects both his 2017 and 2018 cap charges, as Field Yates of ESPN.com reports. Stewart accepted a slight paycut in 2017 in exchange for an effective guarantee of $3.6MM, while the base values of his next two seasons are $4.25MM and $3.75MM. The veteran running back can also earn up to $750K annually via rushing yards incentives.
  • Saints general manager Mickey Loomis considers cornerback and defensive “must” additions this offseason, according to Larry Holder of NOLA.com (Twitter link). So far, New Orleans has addressed those area with bit acquisitions, although the team is considering a big swing as they negotiate with Patriots restricted free agent corner Malcolm Butler.