Giants Place Star Tight End on Injured Reserve, Ending His Season

Evan Engram Goes on IR

Getty Evan Engram #88 of the New York Giants looks on from the bench in the second half against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 16, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

While some fantasy football teams might have been hoping for Evan Engram to return to action for their upcoming championships, the New York Giants have officially crushed those dreams and ruled him out for the rest of the season.

As Michael Eisen of the Giants’ team site reports, the team placed Engram (foot) on the injured reserve list Tuesday afternoon after he played just eight games in his third NFL season, making 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. Though Engram had several times appeared close to getting back on the field, he was never able to fully recover from spraining his left foot in the Giants’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 4.

The move also officially rules out the possibility of the Giants playing any of their 16 games in the regular season with all four of their best playmakers, a list that includes Engram, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepherd and Golden Tate. Barkley and Shepherd both missed multiple games with injuries, while Tate was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

Rookie Kaden Smith could see an increased role for the Giants in their final two games with Engram no longer part of the plan, but how much of an increase depends on whether Rhett Ellison gets out of concussion protocol and proves healthy enough to return to action.

The Giants (3-11) play their road finale this Sunday against the Washington Redskins before ending the year with a home matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Doubt About Engram’s Health Remain

While it would be reasonable to expect Engram to have his foot healed long before next season gets here, the high-value tight end will head into his fourth season without having every game in any of his previous three.

It would be hard to fault him for playing all but one game during his breakout rookie season, as he caught 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns. But he was absent for multiple-game stretches in Year 2, missing three straight games early in the season before missing two more around the midway point. Counting the eight total he will miss this season, Engram will enter the 2020 season having spent 14 of his 48 career games on the sideline.

With the Giants likely to undergo a coaching change after 2019 wraps up, Engram could potentially find himself on the trading block if the staff feels confident enough in its other options at the position. A decision will be made this offseason on Engram’s fifth-year option, which figures to be pretty affordable with him currently inked to a four-year, $10 million deal. It also gives him cost appeal for the Giants to leverage with possible trade partners who might be able to offer them something they want more.

How Ellison and Smith are used and perform in the final two games of the season could offer a glimpse into what the Giants are thinking for the future, even if it is only to give quarterback Daniel Jones more passing options for the future.

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