Three weeks after being cut, long-time Giants running back, Brandon Jacobs signed a one-year deal with the 49ers. The 29-year-old Jacobs has been taking fewer and fewer carries over the last few seasons. Ultimately, the Giants will need to replace not only his 700 yards and eight touchdowns, but his toughness that he brought every Sunday. There are a few external options that the Giants could look into in order to complement Ahmad Bradshaw. 

Before I dig into this list, remember that some of the Giants big name players (i.e. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and JPP) will need new deals soon, so don’t expect the Giants to pony up for a backup running back. 

Candidate #1: Ryan Grant

The 29-year-old, ex-Don Bosco Prep player is coming off two straight disappointing seasons. Grant was injured in Week 1 of the 2010 season as the Packers made their Super Bowl run. Last season, Grant and James Starks shared carries. Grant ran for a clip of 4.2 yards per carry and two touchdowns last season. Alike Bradshaw, Grant has dual-threat ability to catch passes and run in between the tackles. However, given that the Giants already have two players that do these things well, Grant isn’t a fit for Big Blue.

Candidate #2: Cedric Benson

Another 29-year-old back joins the list. Benson, who is owner of three-straight 1,000 yard seasons, said goodbye to the Bengals after they signed Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Over the past three seasons, Benson has averaged roughly 3.8 YPC and scored a total of 20 touchdowns. Benson has never been much of a pass catcher, hauling in just 15 balls last season. Couple those draw backs with his off-the-field issues and that’s enough for the Giants to pass on. Given his skill set and age, the market will likely be soft for the ex-Longhorn.

Candidate #3: Joseph Addai

Ah, a Peyton Manning discipline. The 28-year-old Addai has appeared in twenty games over last two seasons and has been labeled as ‘injury-prone’. Addai is a dual-threat running back and excellent pass blocker. However, the Giants already have Ahmad Bradshaw that can do what Addai does. Pass on Mr. Addai.

Candidate #4: Ronnie Brown

This is who the Jets should go after if they want to run the Wildcat so badly. 

Candidate #5: Jonathan Stewart

Here’s where things start to get interesting. Stewart averaged 5.4 YPC last season and only got into the endzone four times due to the Cam Newton show. The Panthers added free agent running back, Mike Tolbert from San Diego. This move gives the Panthers three able body running backs plus Newton. Clearly, something has to give. 

Stewart is in the final year of his rookie contract. Not only would the Giants have to surrender some sort of draft pick compensation, they would have to give the 25-year-old a new deal. Given the volatility at the position, I just don’t see the Giants paying this price. I like Stewart’s game, but not as much as the asking price.

Candidate #6: The NFL Draft

After Trent Richardson, there is a sizable drop-off in talent, which may the Giants, who pick 32nd in the draft. Outside of Richardson, running backs Lamar Miller (Miami), Doug Martin (Boise State), and David Wilson (VA Tech). Of the three, Martin projected to be the most ‘Jacobs-esqe’. Coming in at 223 pounds, Martin bulldozed his way to 16 TDs last season for the Broncos. Martin isn’t as tall as Jacobs (just 5’10”), but he projects to be comparable to Mike Tolbert. I’ve read nothing, but glowing reviews on Martin and he may be a fit for the Giants. However, drafting a running back in the first or even second round is always a gamble. If the value is right and the Giants like a player enough, they’ll select him. 

I’m not Jerry Reese and clearly, there is no definite answer to replace Jacobs. Remember, Ahmad Bradshaw missed a few games last season, so the Giants will need to someone who can carry a full load, if need be. On pure football talent alone, Benson seems to be the best fit, but his character issues are definitely a concern. Reese has made unpopular moves in the past that have paid off, so expect the unexpected.