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Paul Perkins waived by Giants, has pectoral muscle injury

Paul Perkins, the Giants’ running back of the future twice removed, has been waived by the team with a non-football injury. Perkins tore his pectoral muscle prior to the start of the offseason conditioning program and required surgery. If he goes unclaimed, he will revert to the Giants’ roster under injured reserve and not play in 2018.

Perkins was a fourth-round pick out of UCLA in 2016 and had an impressive rookie season when he ran for 456 yards on 112 carries and caught 15 passes for 162 yards. Perkins made his first career start in the season finale in Washington and ran for 102 yards, the Giants’ only 100-yard performance of the 2016 season.

He began 2017 as the starter, but after four lackluster games was replaced. In 11 games, he managed just 90 yards on 41 carries and eight receptions for 46 yards. Rookie Wayne Gallman emerged toward the end of the season as the Giants’ up-and-coming running back.

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New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was expected to use Perkins in a different role on offense during the 2018 season. While former head coach Ben McAdoo used Perkins as a between-the-tackles grinder on early downs, Shurmur was expected to use him in space as a receiver out of the backfield in a role similar to how he used former Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon during the 2017 season.

Perkins’ ability to force missed tackles and create on his own in space would be highlighted in a role similar to the one McKinnon was used in during the 2017 season in Minnesota. Having said that, Shurmur’s plan for Perkins may have been altered after the Giants were able to land Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in addition to signing veteran free agent Jonathan Stewart. There are only so many touches to go around and only so many snaps to be had in the Giants backfield.

Giants’ decision to waive him could have more to do with an extended timeline for him to return from injury than how they feel about his long-term upside.

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