The New York Giants might not have to look far to solve their problem at wide receiver. Not if general manager Joe Schoen casts an eye toward MetLife Stadium co-residents the New York Jets and Corey Davis.
He’s a potential salary cap casualty who Alex Kay of Bleacher Report believes fits the Giants, Cleveland Browns or Green Bay Packers: “Davis still has a season remaining on his three-year, $37.5 million deal, but he could be released to save over $10 million, with the team only incurring a $666,667 dead-cap hit.”
Kay is convinced playing with a competent quarterback can help Davis “finally realize his potential.” The Giants can offer effective play from football’s most important position, provided they re-sign free agent Daniel Jones, who is coming off a career year.
Davis is an intriguing target because when he’s healthy, he’s shown a penchant for stretching the field, something missing from the Giants’ pedestrian passing game.
Former No. 5 Pick Offers Quality Giants Need
Staying on the field has been a problem for Davis ever since he was taken fifth overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 NFL draft. He completed a full season just once during four years with the Titans, before missing eight games for the Jets in 2021.
An MCL sprain and a concussion limited Davis to just 13 games and 10 starts in 2022. The 28-year-old still managed to average a career-high 16.8 yards per catch.
Davis showcased his vertical threat with this 66-yard touchdown grab against the Browns in Week 2:
While he’s had issues with consistency and staying healthy, Davis possesses two attributes the Giants need. Namely, the kind of game-breaking speed the Giants lacked too often this season. Their Jones-led offense tallied a mere 28 completions of 20-plus yards, the fewest in the NFL.
Davis also offers a towering frame at 6’3″ and 209 pounds. He’s a more physical target than many of Jones’ current options, including Richie James and Wan’Dale Robinson.
James is a free agent, along with other prime targets like Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins. This much uncertainty at the position means the Giants need to act fast and smart this offseason to reinforce their receiving options.
Giants Set for Big Changes at Wide Receiver
Robinson landed on injured reserve with a torn ACL during a breakout game against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. The Giants need 2022’s second-round pick to be fully healthy in time for training camp, because as things stand, Robinson is one of the few incumbent wideouts set to return to the team.
James led all wide receivers with 57 catches and became a niche weapon from the slot after Sterling Shepard tore his ACL against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3. Shepard is also set to enter the veteran market, along with Darius Slayton, the lone credible deep threat on the roster.
Fortunately, it’s a different story with Hodges, who emerged as a surprisingly effective playmaker after being signed off of the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad. Hodgins was the go-to receiver for Jones during the season’s run-in, enjoying a breakout, 105-yard game against the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs.
He regularly got the better of cornerback Patrick Peterson during two meetings with the Vikings, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic:
Being an exclusive rights free agent means the Giants “just have to extend a qualifying offer” to Hodgins, who is “unable to negotiate with another team,” according to Pro Football Network’s Ben Rolfe. The same source detailed how “a ‘qualifying offer’ is simply a one-year contract at the league minimum salary.”
Keeping Hodgins on the cheap then signing a cap hit like Davis would give the Giants stronger options at receiver, especially once Robinson is healthy. The cost-effective approach would also allow Schoen to still draft a wideout in the first round and keep money back to secure Jones’ future.