Golden Tate’s release this week is the first of many likely changes coming to the New York Giants‘ offensive arsenal this offseason. Highly-debated tight end Evan Engram could soon be joining Tate as a cap causality. The team continues to be linked to Florida Gators’ blue-chip prospect Kyle Pitts ahead of April’s draft. Not to mention they could certainly afford to upgrade upon Sterling Shepard as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
Free agency would seem like an ideal spot for the league’s fourth-worst ranked pass offense to add to their lackluster receiver group. Problem is, top targets such as Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson appear destined for the franchise tag. Plus, even if their respective teams were to allow these stars to walk, the Giants’ current cap situation severely handicaps their ability to go all-in on such high-priced free agents.
In other words, New York’s best chance of securing a new weapon for Daniel Jones in free agency likely means dropping down a tier, a formula that NJ Advance Media’s Zack Rosenblatt believes is the correct one to follow.
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Corey Davis Dubbed the ‘Most Logical Free Agent WR’ for the Giants
GM Dave Gettleman hit it out the park last year with the signings of James Bradberry and Blake Martinez. Rosenblatt believes that Gettleman would be wise to duplicate similar logic in his pursuit of free agents this offseason, i.e. young players on a second contract, productive but not a star, and less expensive. And in terms of wide receivers, the NJ.com beat writer believes no free agent better fits that billing than Corey Davis.
The 26-year-old remains the most logical free agent wide receiver fit for the Giants this season. Davis would bring much-needed size to the outside (6-3, 209), and he’s got impressive speed too. He had six catches thrown 20 or more yards downfield in 2020. Plus, Davis is coming from a run-heavy offense, which the sort of team the Giants desire to become. He also got an average of 4.5 yards after the catch last season, which topped all Giants receivers. The risk involved with the former first-round pick is that he only just had his breakout season (984 yards, 5 TD) in Year 4. PFF estimates Davis could earn around $16 million per season.
High-Risk, High Reward
As Rosenblatt alluded to, more times than not, the best free agency signings are the ones where you correctly bank on potential. It’s about foresight and signing a player who’s not quite in their prime yet, but is quickly approaching it.
The question is, was Davis’ breakout 2020 campaign his prime? Yes, the idea that we’ve seen the best Davis has to offer at just 26-years-old seems far-fetched. Yet, we are talking about a player who was widely perceived as a bust after averaging just 622 yards and 47 receptions per season over his first three NFL seasons.
So what changed? Davis truthers will tell you the quarterback. You’ll receive no pushback from me on this one. Ryan Tannehill unlocked aspects of the Titans’ offense that were unimaginable with Marcus Mariota under center. However, those who question Davis as a No. 1 option – because that’s what he’ll be paid to be this year – could point to A.J. Brown’s presence as the key caveat.
Over Davis’ lackluster first three NFL seasons, the former No. 5 overall pick moonlighted as the team’s top-option out wide, a role he was failing in. It wasn’t until the arrival of A.J. Brown in Nashville that Davis began to blossom, as the Western Michigan product was able to drop down in the pecking order.
This is not to say Davis isn’t worth a look from a Giants’ perspective. The NCAA’s all-time leader in receiving yards, Davis is a 6-foot-3-inch specimen who drew Terrell Owens comparisons coming out of college. He’d bring the type of prototypical build the team has seemingly lacked since the days of Plaxico Burress. And most importantly he’d come at a reduced price when compared to the super high-end free agents at the position.
The lone gripe, can he be a No. 1 wide receiver? Because if not, the last thing this Giants team needs is yet another No. 2.
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