The New York Giants signed running back Devonta Freeman to help fill the void by the injury of Saquon Barkley, the team announced on Wednesday.
Freeman, who was cut by the Atlanta Falcons on March 16, reportedly will earn up to $3 million on the one-year deal.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection was brought in for a workout on the heels of Barkley sustaining a torn right ACL early in the second quarter of Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the Bears in Chicago. Barkley was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
In a corresponding move, the Giants placed wide receiver Sterling Shepard on injured reserve Wednesday. Shepard suffered a turf toe injury, also in the second quarter on Sunday, and will be eligible to return after three games.
Freeman, 28, rushed for 3,972 yards and 32 touchdowns and caught 257 passes for 2,015 yards and 11 scores in 77 career games (59 starts) with the Falcons. He registered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Freeman welcomes the chance to play in New York, saying, “Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best.”
Freeman will join a backfield that is now headed by Dion Lewis, who carried 10 times for 20 yards and a touchdown and added four catches for 36 yards against the Bears.
Lewis, who turns 30 this Sunday, signed a one-year deal with New York in March after seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2011-12), New England Patriots (2015-17) and Tennessee Titans (2018-19).
His best season was with the Patriots in 2017 when he rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns and hauled in 32 catches for 214 yards and three scores. He won a Super Bowl LI ring with New England.
Barkley, 23, will undergo surgery on a date to be determined, the team announced Tuesday.
The two-time 1,000-yard rusher and 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was hurt while running toward the sideline and getting tackled by Bears safety Eddie Jackson. Barkley grabbed at the knee as he was taken to the ground.
Barkley ended the season with 19 carries for 34 yards and six catches for 60 yards in two games with the Giants (0-2), who host the San Francisco 49ers (1-1) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET).
Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns as a 2018 rookie after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft out of Penn State. He rushed for 1,003 yards last season despite missing three games and being limited in several others due to a high ankle sprain.
After placing Barkley on IR, the Giants signed cornerback Ryan Lewis, 26, off their practice squad. He joined the team’s practice squad on Sept. 8.
Lewis has recorded 43 tackles and two forced fumbles in 20 career games with the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Eagles and Miami Dolphins.
–Field Level Media