Isaiah Hodgins was preparing to re-sign with the Buffalo Bills after being released midseason when he got a text from his agent saying the New York Giants had claimed him off waivers.
Now, after a breakout season, Hodgins has a new deal and a bright future in New York. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, Hodgins was set to become an exclusive-rights free agent after his breakout season, but instead has a new contract to return to the Giants.
Hodgins Seized Opportunity With Giants
The 2020 draft pick had few chances to see the field with the Bills as he endured a series of injuries through his first three seasons, but had finally climbed up the depth chart last season. After a two-game stint being elevated from the practice squad to the active roster — making four catches for 41 yards in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers — Hodgins was released with plans for the Bills to put him back on the practice squad again.
As GoLong’s Tyler Dunne reported, the Giants snatched him away instead.
“GM Brandon Beane called Hodgins into his office to say the team was releasing him but hoped to bring him back if he cleared waivers,” Dunne reported. “And while his son napped, at around 4 p.m., his agent texted: ‘Bro! Giants!’ A few moments later, the Giants front office reached out to inform Hodgins they had claimed him. Hodgins headed back to One Bills Drive to turn in his tablet and start a new life.”
Hodgins quickly became a top target for quarterback Daniel Jones, making 33 catches for 351 yards and four touchdowns in eight games. Hodgins made another nine catches for 108 yards with one touchdown in the team’s two playoff games.
After a career that was derailed by injuries including long stretches on injured reserve, Hodgins said he was ready to make the most of his opportunity.
“It sounds crazy because that’s a lot of pressure,” he told Dunne. “But that’s the reality. Sometimes, you might only get one or two opportunities. If you blow it, you might not ever be thought of again. If you succeed, they’re like, ‘Let’s give him another opportunity. And another.’ You keep taking and taking it, and that’s how you run away with stuff.”
Hodgins Speaks Out on New Deal
Hodgins said he was grateful for his chance with the Giants and for the help he had gotten along the way. His father, James Hodgins, played in the NFL as a fullback and Isaiah Hodgins said he got plenty of guidance from the veteran wide receivers on the Bills.
“It was definitely a long journey, and looking back, it’s kind of crazy to see how far I’ve come — but I persevered and was patient, and a lot of people mentored me and kept me working hard,” Hodgins told Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney during an appearance on WFAN. “My dad, who played in the NFL, told me to use my time on the practice squad as an opportunity to face good players you may be playing against one day, and I was able to learn from guys like Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley, and model my game after them.”