The New York Giants have agreed to a deal with running back Jonathan Stewart. Terms of the deal have yet to be announced. Stewart, who turns 31 on March 21, was selected in the first round (13th overall) by the Carolina Panthers in 2008 where he spent his first 10 seasons. He is Carolina’s all-time leading rusher with 7,318 yards and second in rushing touchdowns with 51. A report by provided much of the information used in this article.

Struggles in 2017

Stewart played for the Panthers in 15 games and started in ten of them in 2017. He finished the season with 680 rushing yards on 198 carries (3.4 Yards Per Carry).

He did have six rushing touchdowns, but his yards per carry average was the lowest of his career. His best game of the season came in a week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Vintage Stewart showed up that week as he rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. His season-high, in rushing yards, was the 110 he picked up in a victory, in week ten, over the Miami Dolphins. In what has pretty much been the norm for Stewart (other than 2011 which seems like an outlier as he caught 47 passes), he provided little in the passing game. He finished with just eight catches (one for a touchdown) and 52 receiving yards.

Reunited with Mike Shula

Stewart will re-join forces with new Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

Shula served in the same role for the Panthers for five seasons from 2013-17. He also will be reunited with new Giants general manager David Gettleman, who served in the same role for Carolina from 2013-16.

The ten-year-pro did make his only Pro Bowl appearance in 2015 with Shula calling the plays when he ran for 989 yards and six touchdowns (that same season, Shula was named Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Pro Football Focus).

Including last year though, Stewart averaged less than four yards per carry in three of the five seasons he was running with Shula as the offensive coordinator.

Running back competition

The signing of Stewart could mean the departure of unrestricted free agent Orleans Darkwa. Shane Vereen is also a free agent, but very few believe that the Giants will consider bringing him back.

Stewart joins a backfield that includes 2017 fourth round pick Wayne Gallman and 2016 fifth round pick Paul Perkins. Gallman finished his rookie year of 2017 with 476 rushing yards on 111 carries (4.3 yards per carry) but no touchdowns. Unlike Stewart, he was a threat in the passing game with 34 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown.

Beginning the year as the starting running back, Perkins had a very disappointing 2017. He ended the year with just 90 rushing yards on 41 carries (2.2 yards per carry). He also caught eight passes for 46 yards. It is unclear whether the Giants will add anyone else to their backfield although there are some fans who would like the team to select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick.