Giants Sign Ex-49ers WR, Record-Setting Returner

Giants claim ex-49ers WR Dante Pettis

Getty Giants claim ex-49ers WR Dante Pettis.

The New York Giants may have failed to swing a trade at the deadline on Tuesday. However, 24 hours later, they still managed to add an intriguing new piece to their offense.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants claimed former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Dante Pettis, off waivers on Wednesday. The move comes a day after the Niners cut bait with Pettis after failing to find a trade partner for the former second-round pick.

The No. 44 overall selection in the 2018 draft class, Pettis got his NFL career off to a promising start, looking like a future key cog in San Francisco’s aerial attack. In his rookie campaign, Pettis hauled in 27 receptions for 467 yards (17.3 ypr) and five touchdowns in just 12 games.

However, it’s been nothing but downhill for the former first-team All-Pac-12 selection since. In 2019, Pettis reportedly arrived at training camp out of shape, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. In return, the wideout was essentially a non-factor in San Francisco’s run to the Super Bowl, catching just 11 receptions on the season. Prior to being cut, the 25-year-old Pettis appeared in five games with the 49ers this season, but failed to haul in his lone target on the year.

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Pettis Offers Game-Changing Upside as a Return Specialist

Pettis’ most likely chance of making a difference in New York will be through special teams, namely as a return specialist. The former University of Washington standout is one of college football’s most prolific return men of all-time. As a senior in 2017, Pettis set the NCAA record for career punt returns for a touchdown (9) thanks to taking four back to the house that season. For his efforts, Pettis earned first-team All-Pac-12 at two positions, return specialist and wide receiver, chipping in with 63 receptions, 761 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.

Over his four seasons with the Huskies, Pettis returned 90 punts for 1,274 yards, an average of 14.2 ypr. With that said, his electric playmaking ability was not only limited to special teams, as he showed a knack for finding the end zone as a wide receiver. Pettis scored 22 offensive touchdowns over his final two years at school.

The Giants currently have one of the league’s more prominent punt returners in Jabrill Peppers. The former Heisman Trophy finalist currently ranks eighth in the NFL with an average of 12.5 yards per return. With that said, Pettis could help spell Peppers, allowing New York to pick and choose when to deploy their starting safety on special teams.

New York recently got a bit thinner in the secondary as safety Adrian Colbert was placed on injured reserve late Tuesday night due to a lingering shoulder injury.

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