In 2020, New York Giants fullback Eli Penny played just 73 snaps on offense, down significantly from the 127 he had played in a different system with the team in 2019.
So why, then, would the Giants bring on board another fullback, this one being Cullen Gillaspia, who over the same two-year stretch has played in 31 offensive snaps, on board?
Special teams is undoubtedly one potential reason since both Penny and Gillaspia have been core members of their responsive teams' special teams units. But there could be another reason for the Giants' decision to add the very lively Gillaspia to the offense.
What He Brings
Like Penny, Gillaspia was a mainstay on all of the Texans' special teams units last season, that is until Gillaspia landed on injured reserve in December with a back injury. So this summer, Gillaspia's special teams play will certainly be a big part of his audition for the Giants' 53-man roster.
But what about the offense? There could be a role there for Gillaspia as well.
Gillaspia could help himself win a roster spot with his play as a blocker from the H-back position. To that end, a role they didn't deploy all that much (Penny, per Pro Football Focus, took just two snaps as the H-back).
The Giants have also had Kaden Smith line up in that role as well. With the addition of Kyle Rudolph and with Levine Toilolo agreeing to a pay cut that created guaranteed money, Smith doesn't appear to be a lock for the 53-man roster if the Giants only go with three tight ends.
Gillaspia signed a one-year contract worth $850,000. The deal doesn't include any guaranteed money or a signing bonus, so if he doesn't make the roster, the Giants will receive full credit on their cap.
If Gillaspia can handle the H-back role and shine on special teams, the Giants can potentially trim two players (Penny and Smith) from the roster. It's a low-cost investment that can help make the offense better and add versatility to a unit looking for as many chess pieces as possible.
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