Giants ‘Field-Stretcher’ Tipped to Replace Chiefs’ Free Agent

Juju Smith-Schuster

Getty A Giants "field-stretcher" is tipped to replace this Chiefs' free agent.

Finding a marquee wide receiver is a priority for the New York Giants this offseason, but the team still needs to keep what it has at the position. That won’t be easy if free agent Darius Slayton winds up on the radar of an annual Super Bowl contender like the Kansas City Chiefs.

Slayton is being tipped as a replacement for Chiefs’ free agent Juju Smith-Schuster by Yardbarker’s Clark Dalton. Smith-Schuster is also set to hit the veteran market and will be one of the headline names in a group lacking star power but still featuring many solid pass-catchers.

The latter description fits Slayton after a season when he went from potential trade bait to a legitimate vertical threat in the Giants’ otherwise limited passing game.

Giants Need Darius Slayton’s Deep Speed

There isn’t another receiver on the roster who can match Slayton’s deep speed, so his departure would create a void the Giants need to fill. Unfortunately, the same trait is likely to endear Slayton to the Chiefs, according to Dalton: “Slayton is a field-stretcher, something Kansas City likes. In 2022, he averaged 15.7 yards per reception over 16 games, sixth in the league.”

Slayton underscored his bona fides as a big-play specialist by making 12 catches for 20 yards or more, including three of 40-plus. His biggest gain came from this 55-yard grab against the Washington Commanders in Week 13, highlighted by Empire Sports Media’s Alex Wilson:

The play came 10 days after Slayton burned the Dallas Cowboys for 44 yards:

Slayton’s value to the Giants is best summed up by the passing game mustering just two other plays of more than 40 yards without him. He’s now a core part of how the Giants can attack coverage, despite starting last season as the subject of trade rumors, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

It’s been quite the transformation since, with Slayton named one of the bargains of free agency by Dalton: “Additionally, he could be a steal because the 25-year-old is relatively inexpensive. His market value is a two-year deal worth $3.5M annually, per Spotrac.”

A modest fee is why the Chiefs might show interest, but it’s also why the Giants should act quickly to retain the player they drafted in the fifth round back in 2019. The Giants need a wideout with Slayton’s attributes more than one in the mold of Smith-Schuster.

Giants Not a Fit for Juju Smith-Schuster

The Giants’ pressing need for a quality receiver might put a proven commodity like Smith-Schuster on their radar, but the latter isn’t a good fit. Smith-Schuster still succeeds as a reliable target over the middle after making 78 catches for the Chiefs this season.

He knows how to find space between the numbers and turn short passes into solid gains. The latter is evidenced by his 465 yards after the catch, per Pro Football Reference.

Those are all good qualities for any receiver, but they’re also what the Giants expect from Wan’Dale Robinson. Last year’s second-round pick flashed signs of brilliance before tearing his right ACL against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.

It was a cruel blow considering Robinson had already beaten the Lions for nine catches and 100 yards, many of them clutch grabs over the middle, like this one highlighted by Sports 24/7:

Robinson can be an active underneath target when healthy. So can Sterling Shepard and Richie James. Both are free agents, but if the Giants bring one back to pair with Robinson, they won’t need a receiver who plays like Smith-Schuster for a passing game requiring greater potential to go long.

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