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Brandon Jacobs signs with Giants West, aka the 49ers

March 29, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Brandon Jacobs is going from the New York Giants, where he backed up running back Ahmad Bradshaw, to the San Francisco 49ers, where he will help back up Frank Gore.
Brandon Jacobs is going from the New York Giants, where he backed up running… (Nick Laham / Getty Images )

Brandon Jacobs became the second member of the reigning Super Bowl champions to join the team they narrowly beat to get there back in January.

The running back who has spent all seven of his pro seasons with the New York Giants agreed to a one-year contract Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, according to multiple sources. He will be reunited with wide receiver Mario Manningham, who signed a two-year deal with the 49ers last week after spending the first four years of his career with the Giants.

Jacobs is the fourth-leading rusher in Giants history with 4,849 yards but had settled into a role as backup to Ahmad Bradshaw the last two seasons. Still, Jacobs rushed for 571 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

It's unclear exactly what Jacobs' role will be in San Francisco. He definitely won't be the No. 1 running back -- that job belongs to Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,211 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Jacobs probably will find himself competing for, or sharing, the backup spot with Kendall Hunter, who rushed for 473 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie last season.

Perhaps the move by the 49ers has something to do with their heartbreaking 20-17 overtime loss to New York in the NFC championship game. After all, they went out and snatched Manningham, who had a 17-yard touchdown reception in that game. Subtract those six points from one side and add them to the other and you've got another team representing the NFC at the Super Bowl.

But Jacobs wasn't a factor in that game, carrying the ball just five times for 13 yards. Pretty sure that would not have made up for two crucial fumbles by San Francisco's Kyle Williams on special teams.

More likely, the move had less to do with subtracting from the Giants and more with adding to the 49ers. Gore is a stud but he's been racking up the mileage for seven years now. If he goes down for any period of time -- or even just needs a few more breaks during games -- it would be nice to have a reliable veteran backup ready there to help a young player such as Hunter carry the load.

That definitely sounds like a role a two-time Super Bowl champ such as Jacobs can fill.

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Brandon Jacobs signs with Giants West, aka the 49ers

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