Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas during practice in Metairie,...

Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas during practice in Metairie, La., on June 15, 2017. Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert

The Giants continued to fill holes on their coaching staff Tuesday, hiring Joel Thomas as running backs coach and Aaron Wellman as executive director of player performance.

Thomas just completed his ninth season as the Saints running backs coach after 16 years of coaching in the college ranks. From 2015-2022, the Saints led the NFL with 148 rushing touchdowns.

With Thomas, Alvin Kamara earned five Pro Bowl selections and broke the franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 54, and overall touchdowns with 78.

In his eighth season in New Orleans, Thomas coached Kamara to his sixth straight season with at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage. He became the first Saint to lead the team in rushing five consecutive seasons (in 2022), carrying 223 times for 897 yards, while ranking second on the team in receiving with 57 grabs for 490 yards.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March 2024 after playing this season on a revised franchise tag.

Barkley acknowledged at the end of the season that his Giants future is uncertain. The Giants can use a second franchise tag on Barkley for $12.1 million. Barkley has expressed his willingness to discuss his future with the team and has previously said that he would like to be a Giant for the rest of his career.

Barkley has also publicly asked the Giants to “shoot it to me straight” in terms of his standing with the team.

This will be the second stint with the Giants for Wellman, who just completed his fourth season as Indiana's senior assistant athletic director for football performance. Prior to his time with the Hoosiers, he spent four years as the Giants' strength and conditioning coach.

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