Source: Giants don't pick up RB Jonathan Stewart's contract option

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Thursday, February 7, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants did not pick up the option on the contract of running back Jonathan Stewart by Wednesday's deadline, a source told ESPN.

This was the expected result after Stewart rushed for 17 yards on six carries and wasn't activated off injured reserve despite being healthy late in the season. He was scheduled to count $3.2 million against the salary cap in 2019.

The Athletic first reported that the Giants didn't pick up Stewart's option.

General manager Dave Gettleman signed Stewart last season to a two-year deal worth up to $6.575 million. It had a $500,000 option bonus and base salary of $2.35 million this coming season.

Stewart, 31, had spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers. Gettleman was familiar with Stewart from their time together in Carolina and was hoping his strong veteran presence would be beneficial in a locker room he was intent on overhauling.

"One of the biggest issues we had last year that we had to fix was what? The locker room. And both Jonathan Stewart and [offensive lineman] Patrick Omameh are true professionals, and they were brought here for a specific purpose," Gettleman said after the season. "They were brought here for other reasons than their play. Just understand that. We feel like we've turned that corner, especially with this rookie class."

Stewart's role was minimal in part because the Giants drafted running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall last year. When Stewart was healthy, Barkley and Wayne Gallman were ahead of him on the depth chart.