There were a lot of teams scratching their head when the New York Giants not only signed Jonathan Stewart to a two-year deal but gave him guaranteed money as a part of it. After 10 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, whom Stewart leads in career rushing yards, he had only -10 rushing yards this preseason and hardly looked like a shadow of his former self. In fact, if it wasn’t for the guaranteed money, he might not even be on the team according to NJ Advance Media. Now, he’s injured and the Giants are stuck.
Stewart injured his foot, and while he is only on the injured reserve list right now, he could be out for the season. While there are still more tests and evaluations to run, it doesn’t seem like he will be one of the two players the Giants bring back off the IRL when the opportunity arises after week eight. It isn’t necessarily all based on whether he will physically be able to play after that point as much as it is that the Giants may just not want him back. Harsh as that may sound, his numbers are hard to sell to a coach that wants to win.
Not quite the season Jonathan Stewart or the Giants anticipated out of the veteran running back. https://t.co/oW3HHtmeSo
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) September 28, 2018
In three games this season, he’s only had six carries for 17 yards according to 247 Sports. Before the preseason even ended, he had already slipped to No. 3 on the depth chart. He was exhibiting aches and pains that were being chalked up to lingering wear and tear injuries common to NFL running backs past the age of 30.
It wasn’t that he didn’t get opportunities to prove himself, he just didn’t take them, and when he did, he didn’t do much with them as evidenced by his poor preseason and regular season stats. Now, his injuries are being cited as related to normal wear and tear again, raising questions as to whether the team did due diligence before signing him.
The Giants have a few options to move around to fill Stewart’s void. Wide receiver Jawill Davis was moved from the practice squad to the active roster to take his place in that regard per the Giants website. On the field, any carries that may have previously gone to Stewart may find their way to Elijhaa Penny who is mostly known as a short yardage big back.
Giants GM Dave Gettleman signed Jonathan Stewart, 31, in March to a two-year, $6.9 million contract with $2.95 million guaranteed. Stewart had six carries for 17 yards in three games. He goes to IR with a foot injury that coach Pat Shurmur called "normal wear and tear." #Giants
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 28, 2018
While the Giants ownership is still talking as if they look forward to Stewart’s return, not all fans on Twitter seem to share the sentiment, and a fair number of journalists covering the team question if that confidence the team is expressing is merely lip service. Stewart is expected to need two to possibly three weeks of rehab time before they have an accurate picture of when he can physically return, if at all, so fans will know very soon if he will carry a ball again this year or not.