The entire trajectory of the New York Giants season changed on Sunday. Granted, they struggled in their 26-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, but with a new head coach, a more polished Daniel Jones and all-world running back Saquon Barkley in tow, there was plenty of hope the Giants could recover and figure out how to make a run at the NFC East crown. And while the season is far from over for Big Blue, it is for Barkley, who suffered a torn ACL in the Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears -- the team announced.
Barkley went down hard on a tackle and immediately grabbed his right knee while writhing in pain and punching the grass, which was a clear indication something devastating had potentially happened. The Giants are reportedly expected to work out Devonta Freeman as early as possible -- per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network -- with the hopes of signing him to somehow replace Barkley.
Freeman remains a free agent after shrugging off an offer this offseason from the Seattle Seahawks, and met with the Philadelphia Eagles recently to gauge their potential interest as a landing spot. With the injury to Barkley, the Giants will look to siphon Freeman away from their NFC East rival, which would give them a two-time Pro Bowler who once took the crown as NFL rushing touchdowns leader in 2015. Freeman hasn't been the same in recent seasons though, which led to the 28-year-old being released by the Atlanta Falcons this past March, less than three years after they made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history on a five-year, $41.25 million contract.
In his six NFL seasons, Freeman has but two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but four in which he's gained more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage -- lending to his ability to receive out of the backfield. He's certainly a viable option to at least keep the struggling Giants offense from a crash-and-burn scenario, but that's also assuming Jason Garrett can figure out how to get the airplane off of the tarmac, and that might be that much more challenging with wideout Sterling Shepard having suffered a toe injury in the same game in which they lost Barkley.
Freeman has refused to sign with a club thus far due to contract demands, but the Giants might be willing to pay his price, considering the fate of Joe Judge's first year with the club is immediately at stake.