Shane Vereen

Poll: Best Free Agent RB Remaining?

Even as June winds down, there are a surprising number of quality running backs still available on the open market. The current free agent crop of backfield options includes some notable names, such as: 

Charles, Hightower, Vereen, and Murray were all on the Saints’ radar recently as they canvassed the free agent market for running back support. Ultimately, they signed Terrance West to help fill in during Mark Ingram‘s four-game suspension, leaving the other vets in limbo. While Charles, Hightower, and Vereen all showed their stuff for coach Sean Payton, Murray declined his invite, preferring not to participate in a giant cattle call.

When considering only past accomplishments, the names of Peterson, Charles, and Murray obviously stand out. But, unfortunately, father time is cruel to NFL running backs and these players are on the back nines of their careers, to put it mildly. Out of this trio, Murray has the best 2017 to show teams. Even though his job as the Titans’ top rusher was usurped by Derrick Henry, he had 39 catches for 266 yards and occasionally showed the powerful rushing that made him a force to be reckoned with in Dallas. Charles, he of several 1,000-yard seasons, had only 296 rushing yards in total and found himself at the bottom of Denver’s depth chart to close out the season. Peterson, meanwhile, forced his way out of New Orleans due to a lack of playing time and had only two performances of note in his run with the Cardinals.

Lacy signed with the Seahawks last year and hoped to put concerns about his health and conditioning to rest. Unfortunately, those questions persist after he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in nine games. Lacy was a bulldozer in his early days with the Packers, but his last season of note came in 2015 when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Even then, ball security was a problem as he fumbled the ball four times.

Darkwa is back on the NFL radar after doctors cleared him to workout. Darkwa won’t win this poll on name value, but unlike everyone else on this list, he’s coming off of the best season of his career.The 26-year-old (did we mention that he’s also the youngest running back here?) ran for 751 yards off of 171 carries, good for a strong 4.4 yards per carry average. It was an ugly year for the Giants on the whole, but Darkwa excelled on a personal level.

Vereen, another ex-Giant, can’t say the same for his 2017 season. However, his second act with the Giants has been respectable on the whole. Acting as a secondary ball carrier, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over the last three seasons. He also showed that he can still be a worthwhile pass catcher out of the backfield with 44 grabs for 253 yards last season, though he averaged a career-low 5.8 yards per catch.

Last but not least is Morris, though you can be forgiven for forgetting about this three-time 1,000-yard rusher. Morris was a force to be reckoned with from 2012-2014, but he has been riding the pine for the Cowboys over the last two years. What you might not realize is that Morris was tremendous in a small sample last year as Ezekiel Elliott‘s early-season backup and later-season fill-in. Morris averaged 4.76 yards per carry off of 115 attempts, which makes one wonder why we haven’t heard his name mentioned in recent months.

Out of the running backs listed here, which player do you feel can contribute the most in 2018? Click below to cast your vote and defend your choice in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Terrance West Signing Not Certain?

The Saints’ search for an Alvin Kamara sidekick during Mark Ingram‘s suspension has operated in high gear this week, with several running backs contacted for workouts. But the one they’ve reportedly agreed to sign — Terrance West — may not be New Orleans-bound just yet.

West’s deal is not finalized, Mike Triplett of and The Advocate’s Nick Underhill report (Twitter links). While Triplett notes a deal could come to fruition, it hasn’t yet despite a report of the sides reaching an agreement emerging Wednesday afternoon.

Additionally, Triplett reports Shane Vereen worked out for the Saints on Wednesday. He joins West, Jamaal Charles and Tim Hightower among UFA backs to audition for New Orleans. DeMarco Murray declined to be a part of this process.

Charles also could be a candidate for the Saints, assuming their West accord doesn’t come to fruition. The two-time All-Pro enjoyed a good workout, Herbie Teope of tweets, and the injury-prone runner passed his physical. Teope adds a signing didn’t make sense for either side but could be revisited down the road. This would be Charles’ 11th season, should he land with a team.

This is the first known workout Vereen’s participated in since his Giants contract expired after the 2017 season. Vereen’s skill set is somewhat similar to Kamara’s; he’s functioned as a passing-down back in New England and New York. But nevertheless, the 29-year-old has seven years’ experience. However, he only posted 417 yards from scrimmage last season and missed 11 games in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants’ Shane Vereen Takes Pay Cut

Giants running back Shane Vereen has agreed to restructure his contract, reports Jordan Raanan of Previously scheduled to earn a $3.15MM base salary next season, Vereen will now collect $2.15MM, though he could get back the lost $1MM (and make another $250K) in incentives. Regardless, the move will save the Giants $843,750 in cap space.

Shane Vereen (Vertical)

The 2017 campaign will be the third with the Giants for Vereen, a pass-catching back who signed with Big Blue before the 2015 season and hauled in 59 receptions that year. Vereen, to whom New York paid a $500K roster bonus earlier this month, missed the majority of last season after tearing a triceps muscle on two separate occasions. In five games, he put up 252 total yards (158 rushing, 94 receiving) and a touchdown. As of now, the 28-year-old is the most established member of a largely unproven backfield which also includes Paul Perkins.

Vereen is the second Giant to restructure his contract this week, joining wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris.The extra spending space could help Big Blue re-sign defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, posits Raanan. Hankins, who surprisingly hasn’t encountered a robust market, ranks as PFR’s best unsigned interior D-lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Retain RB Shane Vereen

Shane Vereen appears set to return to the Giants in 2017. New York will pay the running back’s $500K roster bonus by the Monday deadline, a source familiar with the the team’s thinking tells Kimberly Jones of NFL Network (on Twitter). Shane Vereen (Vertical)

Vereen joined up with the G-Men before the 2015 season and caught 59 passes in his first year with the team. Unfortunately, he missed the majority of last season after tearing a triceps muscle on two separate occasions. All in all, he had 33 carries for 158 yards and one score plus 11 catches for 94 yards across five games. The Giants know what the 28-year-old is capable of when healthy, so they will retain him for 2017.

After dropping Rashad Jennings in February, the Giants are left with Paul Perkins, Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and George Winn at running back. Perkins has promise, but the Giants seem likely to add running back help either in the second wave of free agency or in the draft. Vereen won’t be the workhorse of the group, but he should be used plenty as a pass-catching specialist.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Place Shane Vereen, Ryan Nassib On IR

The Giants announced that they have officially placed Shane Vereen on IR. Quarterback Ryan Nassib is also being shut down with an elbow injury. To take their place on the roster, the Giants signed linebacker Ishaq Williams off their practice squad, as well as running back George Winn.

Shane Vereen (vertical)

On Monday, head coach Ben McAdoo indicated that Vereen’s season was likely over. It’s an unfortunate break for the veteran as he only just came back from his initial triceps injury in Week 14. The 27-year-old’s season is finished after playing in just five games. He had 33 carries for 158 yards and one touchdown. He also added 11 catches for 94 yards. He’s under contract for one more year with the Giants for nearly $5MM against the cap.

Since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, Nassib hasn’t made a single start for the Giants. He’s slated to hit free agency after the season and it will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for him, if the Giants allow him to test the waters in March. Nassib has received praise from Giants coaches for his work in practice, but we only have preseason games and the occasional regular season cameo to evaluate him on.

With Nassib sidelined, Josh Johnson becomes Eli Manning’s primary backup.

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Giants RB Shane Vereen Re-Injures Triceps

Giants running back Shane Vereen has re-injured his triceps and is now likely done for the remainder of the 2016 season, tweets Art Stapleton of the Record. Head coach Ben McAdoo has since confirmed the report at a press conference today."<strong

[RELATED: New York Giants Depth Chart]

Vereen missed nine games earlier this season after originally suffering the triceps injury, and had just come off injured reserve in time for New York’s Week 14 contest against the Cowboys. The Giants had been slowly working Vereen back into the offense, and he had only contributed two rush attempts and three receptions during the club’s two most recent games. Vereen, 27, is signed through the 2017 campaign, and is scheduled to count nearly $5MM on New York’s salary cap next year.

Given that Vereen was sidelined for the majority of the Giants’ season, Big Blue shouldn’t have any trouble finishing out its season — which is extremely likely to end with a postseason appearance — without him. Rashad Jennings will continue to act as the team’s lead back, while Paul Perkins and Bobby Rainey chip in on part-time duty. Russell Hansbrough, currently on the Giants’ practice squad, is a candidate for promotion once Vereen is officially placed on injured reserve.

Giants Activate Shane Vereen

12:05pm: The Giants have officially activated Vereen. To make room on the roster, the team has released offensive lineman Adam Gettis.

The 28-year-old played in three games for the Giants this season, including a start during the team’s Week 12 win over the Browns. Gettis could land back on the practice squad, where he has spent the majority of the season.

10:44am: The Giants should see the return of an offensive weapon for this weekend’s matchup against the Cowboys. According to’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter), the Giants are expected to activate running back Shane Vereen from the injured reserve.

Shane Vereen (Vertical)Vereen returned to practice in late November after having injured his triceps during the Giants’ Week 3 loss to the Redskins. Vereen was subsequently placed on the injured reserve, and initial thought was that the 27-year-old would be out for the season. Up to that point, Vereen had rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries, and he added another eight receptions for 75 yards. Following four seasons with the Patriots, the speedy running back joined the Giants prior to the 2015 season, and he finished his first season in New York with 59 receptions for 495 yards and four scores.

During Vereen’s absence, the Giants have leaned on Bobby Rainey as their top reserve pass-catching back. Rainey, starter Rashad Jennings, and Paul Perkins have combined for 58 receptions, 483 receiving yards, and one touchdown reception this season. For what it’s worth, the Giants running backs have compiled the second-fewest rushing yards (930) and the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (five) in 2016. Vereen’s production mostly comes through the air, but his career 4.3-yards per rushing attempt is significantly higher than Perkins’ team-leading 3.7-yards per attempt.

In other Giants injury news, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that starting left guard Justin Pugh will not be returning to the lineup for tomorrow’s game. The lineman hasn’t played since spraining his MCL during the team’s Week 9 win over the Eagles. Marshall Newhouse and Brett Jones have seen the majority of the left guard snaps in Pugh’s absence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Shane Vereen Returns To Practice For Giants

The Giants could be getting one of their most talented running backs back on the field. Shane Vereen was in attendance for practice today, as Seth Walder of the New York Daily News writes. Shane Vereen (Vertical)

Vereen was placed on IR in September with a triceps injury. After sitting out the necessary eight weeks (and then some), Vereen is eligible to return to action. Without Vereen, the Giants have used Bobby Rainey as their top reserve pass-catching back. Rashad Jennings has been in the lead role, when healthy, and rookie Paul Perkins is finally starting to see some work. If and when Vereen gets back in the game, he will probably take a good deal of snaps from Rainey and maybe even chip into Jennings’ workload.

Vereen’s recovery timetable is not immediately clear, but yesterday’s release of Orleans Darkwa could be a sign that he will be 100% sooner rather than later. The Giants presently have the three aforementioned tailbacks on the 53-man roster with tailback George Winn on the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Stills, McVay, Vereen

Let’s take a quick swing around the league’s east divisions:

  • The Dolphins will try to retain impending free agent Kenny Stills, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Head coach Adam Gase loves Stills, who has become one of the league’s better deep threats, but depending on how aggressive the bidding on Stills becomes, Jackson writes that Miami could let him seek his fortune elsewhere and try to replace him with Leonte Carroo.
  • Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch will continue to play as he appeals his recent four-game suspension, and Mike Reiss of reports that the appeal is expected to be heard within the next month. That means that New England could lose Branch very late in the season and into the playoffs, which begs the question of whether it would be better for the team if Branch simply accepts his suspension now so that he is sure to be back for the stretch run. Branch, though, needs to do what is best for him, as the suspension could cost him about $1.13MM and could hurt his market when he reaches free agency this spring.
  • Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is not exactly a household name outside of the nation’s capital, but his work with Kirk Cousins and his development of Washington’s proficient offense is garnering attention around the league, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Per La Canfora, the 30-year-old McVay is viewed as a coaching prodigy, and he is expected to get interviews for head coaching gigs at the end of the year if the Redskins’ offense continues performing at a high level.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter passes along another interesting detail about Matt Forte‘s brief flirtation with the Patriots. According to Schefter, Forte flew into New Jersey to meet with the Jets on the first day of free agency, and Gang Green decided to sign him. However, there were some concerns about the condition of Forte’s knee during the physical, and the Jets did not rush to get the paperwork done. That made Forte a bit antsy, and he made plans to board a plane and visit the Patriots. But when New York learned of those plans, the team’s concerns with Forte’s knee suddenly evaporated and Forte was handed his contract.
  • Giants RB Shane Vereen, currently on IR, could be on his way back to the field. Per Mike Garafolo of (via Twitter), the Giants are optimistic Vereen can return for the club’s December 11 matchup with Dallas.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/27/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The 49ers officially placed offensive lineman Anthony Davis on the exempt/left squad list after he retired yesterday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Davis no longer counts against San Francisco’s 53-man roster.
  • The Cardinals announced that they have released long snapper Kameron Canaday, placed tight end Troy Niklas on IR, and released safety Marqui Christian. Christian, a Midwestern State product, was a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Giants announced that they have re-signed cornerback Michael Hunter. The club created a roster spot by placing Shane Vereen on injured reserve after he suffered a triceps injury.
  • The Bills waived kicker Jordan Gay, according to a team announcement. Gay is a kickoff specialist, and he’s never attempted a field goal during regular season action.
  • The Redskins are promoting offensive lineman Vinston Painter to the active roster, Master Tesfatsion of The Washington Post tweets. Painter will add depth to the front five while left guard Shawn Lauvao deals with an injury.
  • The Panthers cut safety Marcus Ball, per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Defensive end Ryan Delaire has been placed on IR with a knee injury. Carolina needed two roster spots for the newly-signed Michael Griffin and Kyle Love.
  • The Cowboys will sign offensive lineman Emmett Cleary following the long-term injury to guard La’el Collins, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
  • The Saints waived wide receiver Kyle Prater from injured reserve, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.