Golden Tate has played a total of just 11 games with the New York Giants. Still, he’s quickly galvanized the fanbase and become a favorite amongst the G-Men faithful. His gritty, tough play embodies the city, oh and his production hasn’t been half bad either.
According to Pro Football Focus, the wily veteran ranked behind only Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wideout Chris Godwin for the highest grade among wide receivers when lined up in the slot a season ago. Tate’s stellar 94.5 grade tied him for second on the list alongside Seattle Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett.
That type of high-level efficacy would seem to lend itself towards Tate sticking around New York for the long haul. However, a combination of his contract, age, and a cluster of players at his position could lead to Tate’s tenure with the Giants ending sooner rather than later.
Giants Looking to Move on from Tate This Season?
Is Golden Tate on the roster bubble a meer one-year into his four-year, $37.5 million contract? At the moment, absolutely not.
With that said, his status on the roster beyond this season appears to be a totally different story. ESPN views Tate as a potential cap casualty following the upcoming season due to his “inefficient” play (their word, not mine) and “expensive contract.”
Some even question whether or not Tate will make it to next season as a member of the Giants. NJ Advance Media’s Zack Rosenblatt has pegged the soon-to-be 32-year old as a trade deadline candidate this year depending on how the Giants perform in the opening weeks of 2020.
Tate’s production towards the latter part of the 2019 season while working alongside a fully healthy Giants receiving corps paints a clearer picture as to why so many are keen on cutting ties with the one-time Pro Bowler.
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Tate’s Production Drastically Fell Off Late in 2019
Tate is by far the most prolific of New York’s handful of receiving weapons. His three separate seasons of 90+ receptions and 1,000+ receiving yards speak for themselves. Tate’s tenure with the Giants started off on a similar pace in 2019.
After being suspended for the first four games of the season, he hit the ground running, topping 80 receiving yards in all but one game from Week 6 through Week 10. However, there is one glaring note that accompanies those statistics. Fellow Giants wideout Sterling Shepard was not active in any game over that time span.
Upon Shepard’s return to the Giants’ lineup following a Week 11 bye, Tate went from averaging six receptions and 80+ receiving yards to a meager 1.25 receptions and less than 24 receiving yards per game over the next four contests. During that timeframe, Shepard hauled in 21 receptions, while Tate caught just five passes. Even with Tate missing one game over that period, the differentiating volume between Shepard and Tate are still seismic.
Moving on From Tate: Salary Cap Implications & Freeing Up Snaps
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, “the Giants have three No. 2 receivers.” It’s a sentiment that is widely accepted around the league. The thing is, out of all of Big Blue’s pass-catchers, Tate offers the least upside to claim the No. 1 role in New York’s passing game over the long-term.
Darius Slayton is clearly the most tantalizing of Giants receivers. Shepard is one of the league’s more target heavy wideouts in all of football. He’ll also be five-years the junior of Tate when the 2020 regular season kicks off. Then there’s always tight end Evan Engram, who may very well be the most talented of the bunch, and who, like Shepard and Tate, does most of his damage from the slot.
If the Giants come out of the gates sluggish as they have in years past, the idea of holding on to Tate for the duration of the 2020 season becomes all the more unappealing. Trading Tate at the deadline would free up more looks for Slayton as well as other Giants youngsters, such as Corey Coleman and Binjimen Victor.
If the Giants were to wait to move on from Tate and cut him following the season they’d still free up an extra $6 million in cap space. This would further allow the team to pursue a young playmaker in free agency, one who can dominate on the outside, while also possessing legitimate WR1-upside to grow alongside perceived franchise quarterback Daniel Jones.
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