Giants Starter ‘Missing’ from Practice as Trade Buzz Heats Up: Report

Multiple teams interested in trading for Giants TE Evan Engram

Getty Evan Engram #88 of the New York Giants catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Jabrill Peppers #21 during the Blue and White scrimmage.

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Evan Engram and the New York Giants are headed for a divorce. The only real question is when. The reigning Pro Bowler’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he is highly unlikely to re-up with the team that drafted him No. 23 overall back in 2017. However, just because some in East Rutherford have begun to sour on Engram and his inconsistent play, doesn’t mean his high-upside isn’t raising intrigue across the rest of the NFL landscape.

With the November 2nd trade deadline quickly approaching, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has reported that “multiple teams are interested” in acquiring the Giants tight end.

“There’s genuine affinity league-wide for his skill set despite the lack of elite production,” Fowler noted. “The Giants could be faced with a decision on him.”


Precautionary or Injury Scare?

Of course, in order to trade Engram the Ole Miss product would theoretically need to be healthy — something he’s struggled with since entering the league in 2017. Engram has missed 16 games over the past four-plus seasons, including the first two of this year. Could he now be dealing with another ailment? On October 27th, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted that Engram was notably “missing from Wednesday’s practice.”

While many fans across social media have speculated that this could simply be a precautionary step by the Giants as they hammer out a trade involving the tight end, Engram has been hampered by a lingering calf injury dating back to the preseason. Thus far there’s been no word on why Engram was M.I.A. for Wednesday’s practice session.

The Giants already missed out on the opportunity to trade fellow former first-rounder Jabrill Peppers. The team’s starting safety had long been the subject of trade speculation and was a top candidate to be moved ahead of the deadline. However, Peppers’ sustained knee and ankle injuries in New York’s Week 7 victory over the Carolina Panthers that have prematurely ended his 2021 campaign, as well as any hopes of him being unloaded in a deal before his contract expires at the end of the season.

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Potential Engram Suitors

As much as Engram may have worn out his welcome in New York with countless drops, limited availability and underwhelming production (namely in the red zone — one receiving touchdown over his last 21 games) — he still remains a viable mismatch as a hybrid pass-catcher. In fact, just last season he ranked within the top eight league-wide in receptions (63) and receiving yards (654) among tight ends.

Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme hasn’t done him many favors either along the way, especially this season, as the Giants have become much more wide receiver-centric in 2021. His connection with Daniel Jones has also been brought into question, as Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay highlighted that he’s hauled in just four touchdowns from the quarterback since Jones was drafted in 2019.

Measuring in at 6-foot-3-inches and 240 pounds, and possessing 4.4 speed, there’s no denying that other offensive coordinators around the league would view Engram as a tantalizing puzzle piece, one that they can get the most out of. Plus, with the way players like Darren Waller and Kyle Pitts are being used around the NFL, it’s certainly plausible that Engram could pop off in a new situation.

The Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts have all been floated as potential landing spots for Engram in recent weeks. Another intriguing suitor to keep an eye on could be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Never afraid to swing for the fences, Engram could “make sense” for the win-now Bucs, per NFL insider Matt Lombardo. Rob Gronkowski has missed each of Tampa Bay’s past four games as he works his way back from a rib injury and a punctured lung.

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