Ex-Panthers RB Stewart to sign with Giants


The New York Giants tapped into the running back free agent market and signed veteran Jonathan Stewart, a move that reunites Stewart with his former offensive coordinator, Mike Shula.

He immediately becomes the most accomplished running back on New York's roster.

Q: What kind of role did (general manager) Dave Gettleman and (offensive coordinator) Mike Shula play in your final decision here?

To stick around and make his contract (reportedly worth up to $8.2 million with incentives and a guarantee of $2.95 million) worth it for the Giants, though, he'll have to contribute on the field as well as off it. Stewart will join a very young running backs room, which figures to include second-year player Wayne Gallman and third-year player Paul Perkins.

Saying that he still has "got a lot left" in his career, the presence of Gettleman helped lure Stewart to the Giants. The only reason why I would be playing is if I knew I could play and I know I can play, Dave knows I can play - there is a lot that I feel I want to prove and writing my own story as far as how things shape up moving forward for me. "I'm grateful for the owner (John Mara) taking a chance to me and the head coach and coaching staff trusting me".

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By releasing Stewart, who turns 31 later in March, the Panthers saved $3.7 million in salary cap space.

"It played a significant role", Stewart said of their influence to bring him to NY.

The Panthers drafted Stewart in the first round in 2008. Adding Penn State star Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft also is a strong possibility.

It is not yet determined whom Stewart will share the room with. In 10 seasons with the team, he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored 51 rushing touchdowns, while catching 162 passes for 1,295 yards and seven TDs.

"At the end of the day, having a good group of guys that mesh well and have a good chemistry ... and just understanding the end goal, which is to win championships and to have a family-oriented culture", he said. "If you're not competing, not expecting to have competition among the group, you shouldn't be in the business".