If the Giants are going to carry a fullback in 2022, there is no reason to look past Penny
Elijhaa Penny is a useful NFL player. A fullback who can do fullback things like block and catch an occasional pass well enough. Versatile enough to handle occasional running back duties, as shown by his 24 carries for 99 yards (4.1 yards per carry) in 2021. A valuable special teams player.
With a new GM in Joe Schoen and a new coach in Brian Daboll will those skills be enough to land Penny a spot on the 2022 Giants?
2021 salary cap hit: $1.040 million
Making the case
Fullbacks are an afterthought in modern NFL offenses, and some teams don’t even carry them on their rosters. Still, I have always considered Penny an under-used player by the Giants.
In 2021, with Saquon Barkley missing time in the middle of the year, the Giants finally gave Penny. He carried nine times (albeit for only 24 yards) against Carolina and five times for 35 yards against Las Vegas.
Penny also finished the year with a career-best nine catches. He played a career-high 142 offensive snaps.
Will the Giants bring him back?
With Daboll running the offense, the Bills did use a fullback the last two seasons. Reggie Gilliams played 9 percent of the offensive snaps in 2020 and 14 percent in 2021, roughly the same as Penny’s 8 and 13 percent.
The Chiefs, where offensive coordinator Mike Kafka spent the last few seasons, also rostered a fullback. Michael Burton played 94 offensive snaps (8 percent) for Kansas City in 2021.
For my money, if the Giants are going to roster a fullback in 2022 there is no need for them to look beyond the guy who has been doing that job for the past four seasons.