Shane Vereen leaves Patriots to join crowded Giants backfield
Vereen signed a three-year, $12.35 million deal with the Giants where he'll join a backfield already boasting Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. The 26-year-old Vereen will likely will take on a role similar to the one he had in New England, as a pass-catching threat capable of handling eight to 12 carries a game.
Vereen actually led the Patriots in rushing attempts last season (96), despite receiving double-digit handoffs just twice. He had more of an impact in the passing game—his 52 catches were good for fourth on the team and, per Pro Football Focus, he was asked to block for Tom Brady far more than any other Patriots' back.
With 838 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns, Vereen's 2014 season was the best of his career.
Anyone (like his fantasy owners) waiting on a real breakthrough may be out of luck, though. Jennings and Williams combined for 384 carries between them last season, and that's with Jennings missing five games to injury. A healthy Jennings would be the frontrunner for the lead role next season, though Williams's physical style has earned him work within Ben McAdoo's scheme as well.
The Giants could release Jennings and save $1.125 million ($2.25 million, if post-June 1). In the unlikely event that happens, Vereen's duties obviously would increase. If not, he'll attempt to replicate his success as a Patriot while battling Jennings and Williams for playing time.
Vereen brings the kind of game the Giants have been missing since Ahmad Bradshaw left and David Wilson retired.
[daily_cut.nfl]"David [Wilson] was a fast, quick guy who could catch the ball out of the backfield, return kicks," Giants GM Jerry Reese said. "When you lose that, a dynamic-type player, it stings a little bit. But it's football and we'll try to replace that position."
Jennings is versatile in his own right, but Vereen is better in all aspects of the passing game.
This is a nice fit, one that should help Eli Manning bounce back next season.