Joe Judge’s $825,000 Breakout Running Back Is Carrying the Giants to the Playoffs

Wayne Gallman escaped the New York Giants’ doghouse at the right time for all parties.

Once the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley in 2018, Gallman — a fourth-round pick from Clemson the year before — became expendable. Gallman saw action when Barkley was hurt or in rare change-of-pace situations.

Not even the biggest New York Giants fan would have predicted even a month ago that it would be Gallman, not former Pro Bowl pickup Devonta Freeman, as the man carrying the Giants to an unlikely postseason berth.

Wayne Gallman is in his fourth NFL season

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A two-time All-ACC running back at Clemson, Wayne Gallman skipped his senior year to enter the NFL early.

The New York Giants, who were still searching for their running back of the future in 2017, used a fourth-round pick on Gallman.

In 13 games and one start as a rookie, Gallman ran for 476 yards on 4.3 yards per carry. Gallman also turned 34 catches into 193 yards and a touchdown.

New York used the second overall pick on Penn State star Saquon Barkley in 2018, though, and Gallman moved to the bench. Across 25 games from 2018-19, Gallman picked up 286 yards and three touchdowns on 3.6 yards per attempt. Gallman also caught 25 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.

Then-Giants coach Pat Shurmur limited Gallman’s touches, even when Barkley missed time last year with a sprained ankle.

Gallman is a scoring machine this year

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The New York Giants received awful news in Week 2, when Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Although the Giants soon picked up former Pro Bowl running backs Alfred Morris and Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman has instead led the charge in the backfield.

Gallman isn’t stuffing the stat sheet in terms of yardage, but he’s scoring touchdowns at an excellent pace. The fourth-year back has run for 369 yards and six touchdowns on an even four yards per attempt in 10 games and five starts this year.

Gallman has scored touchdowns in five consecutive games, including a two-touchdown performance against Carson Wentz and the Eagles in Week 10.

According to Spotrac, Gallman is doing all of this on a $825,000 salary. Gallman is in the final year of his rookie contract.

Wayne Gallman is salvaging the Giants’ 2020 season

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Don’t look now, but the New York Giants could be headed to the postseason.

Although the Giants enter Week 13 with a 4-7 record, they are tied for first place in the NFC East Division. New York and Washington hold identical records, although the Giants have a tiebreaker over the Football Team.

Washington lost both of its matchups with the Giants.

Wayne Gallman’s rapid scoring pace has been a significant reason why an inconsistent Giants offense is riding a three-game winning streak. If Gallman does not miss any additional time, he is on pace to finish the 2020 season with 554 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, the latter number being skewed by Gallman going scoreless in his first five games.

Gallman has played at least 57% of the Giants’ offensive snaps in each game during the winning streak.

New York has four challenging games ahead, however. The Giants travel to Seattle, host Arizona and Cleveland, and fly to Baltimore in that span; all had winning records at publication.

Those four games will determine if the Giants are still alive in the NFC East race when the Week 17 matchup with Dallas arrives.

All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.