One week too late, New York Giants. One week too late.
Brandon Jacobs is set to return to his former team after working out with Big Blue on Tuesday. According to multiple reports, the 31-year old has signed a one-year deal with New York. Jacobs and the Giants parted ways after the 2011 season, and he then had a nightmare stint at the San Francisco 49ers. He rarely played for the Niners when healthy, and he got himself suspended for three games after he voiced some negative opinions about the team via social media websites. The 49ers deemed that they didn't need the bruising running back for the playoffs, and they cut Jacobs on December 31.
The Jacobs signing comes just two days after second-year running back David Wilson fumbled the ball away twice in New York's loss to division rivals the Dallas Cowboys. Wilson finished the game on the bench, and backup Da'Rel Scott managed just 23 rushing yards on five carries. Scott's most memorable moment of the contest came when he failed to catch an Eli Manning screen pass, and the subsequent deflection resulted in the pick-six that ended New York's hopes for a dramatic rally. Andre Brown, No. 2 at the position on the New York depth chart, is nursing a broken leg. He's out until at least Week 10.
Jacobs returning to the Giants makes sense on paper. He knows the playbook, he has a good relationship with head coach Tom Coughlin, and he is a favorite among his former teammates. That the Giants didn't look elsewhere, however, tells you a lot about the state of free agent running backs in September 2013.
It's a shame, in hindsight, that Jacobs didn't have an opportunity to make an impact in Dallas this past Sunday evening. “If I play for the Giants, or if I play for Buffalo, or if I play for anybody, my hatred for the Cowboys will remain the same because as a kid I just never liked the Cowboys,” he told reporters back in 2009. He's also, in the past, stated that he hated the Cowboys “with a bloody passion.” He somewhat walked those comments back two years later, insisting that his problem was more with the fan base of the team.
“You know what it is? It’s their fans. Some of their fans are loud, obnoxious and just bad,” he stated. “Just everywhere you go, you’ve got them Dallas fans running their mouth about Dallas. They keep going. It’s not really the team and the star and all that. They’re just like any other team in the National Football League if you ask me. But their fans are the ones that have me really just feeling the way I feel.”
There's no denying that Jacobs' best days are far behind him. He does happen to be a guy who thoroughly loves the franchise, though, and it's a safe bet that the emotional veteran will be looking to close his career out on a high following a short and unpleasant stay at San Fran. Jacobs is a respected leader in the Giants locker room, and he is, upon signing his contract, the team's best pass blocker in the backfield.
Those questioning the move need to remember that Jacobs isn't being brought in to be the player of old. He's going to be utilized in pass protection, and he isn't going to get any more touches of the football than what he earns in practices and in games. Will it be frustrating for Giants fans if/when he tiptoes toward the line on a third and one? Of course. If this doesn't work out, odds are that his return will be nothing more than a nine-week experiment that is quickly erased from memories.
Or maybe, just maybe, he has a few more of these left in the tank.