By the sound of it, the New York Giants couldn’t give away Golden Tate at Tuesday’s trade deadline, with a bloated salary being the main culprit in the team’s failure to unload the disgruntled veteran. However, while Tate failed to pique the interest of many, if any suitors, the same cannot be said about the newest member of the Giants’ receiving corps, Dante Pettis.
New York claimed Pettis off waivers on Wednesday, a day after the San Francisco 49ers cut the former second-rounder, this despite a depleted wide receiver room. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, had the Giants not put in a claim for Pettis’ services, the 25-year-old would have still been making the move from the west coast to the northeast, but would instead be catching passes from Cam Newton rather than Daniel Jones.
Patriots, Browns Attempted to Claim Pettis
“If Dante Pettis had not been claimed by the Giants, he would have become a Patriot,” Yates tweeted on Thursday. He later went on to add that the “Browns (5-3) also attempted to claim the 2018 second-round pick.” However, the Giants came away victorious in the Pettis sweepstakes, having been awarded the wideout due to having a higher priority than the two other teams to put in claims. I guess being 1-7 on the season has its perks after all.
The Giants received a roster exemption from the NFL upon claiming Pettis, who is currently in the six-day COVID-19 protocol. The San Clemente (CA) native is expected to be formally added to the team’s roster on Monday or Tuesday, per Giants.com’s Michael Eisen.
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The Giants Must Light a Fire Under Pettis
A second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Pettis hit the ground running with the Niners, collecting 27 receptions for 467 yards (17.3 ypr) and five touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie. Many expected Pettis to develop into Jimmy Garoppolo’s bonafide No. 1 target at wideout in 2019. Instead, the former Washington Husky endured a catastrophic sophomore slump, being supplanted by not only then-rookie Deebo Samuel, but essentially every other wideout on the roster. Pettis finished last season with just 11 receptions, while his yards per reception average was slashed by 7.4 yards. The arrow hasn’t stopped pointing down since.
In five games with San Francisco this season, Pettis made one start in five-game appearances but proved to be a total non-factor, failing to haul in his lone target on the year.
The fact that the 49ers gave up on a player they moved up in the draft to acquire less than three years in, may come as a bit of a surprise on the surface, but it really shouldn’t. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had clearly worn thin with patience when it came to Pettis, evident by his statement back in November of last year:
“He’s had his opportunities. The more he doesn’t take advantage of his opportunities, the less he opportunities he gets. He did get a couple last night because of injury and I didn’t think he made them,” per SI.com’s Jose Luis Sanchez III.
Pettis’ best chance of making his presence felt in New York is through special teams, namely as a punt returner. During his four seasons at the University of Washington, Pettis etched his name in the record books as one of college football’s most prolific return specialists of all time, recording nine career punt return touchdowns, an NCAA record.
Talent has never been much of a question when it comes to Pettis. However, work ethic and ability to operate as an every-down receiver have been questions left open-ended thus far in his career. A change of scenario certainly shouldn’t hurt Pettis’ prospects, but time is wearing thin for the wideout to prove he’s anything more than just untapped potential.
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