The New York Giants aren’t done shopping yet.
Days after acquiring former Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller in a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, they’re currently “connected” to former Detroit Lions receiver D.J. Clark and former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman, according to beat reporter Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com.
“I’ve heard some buzz today about the #Giants connected to D.J. Chark and Mecole Hardman,” Stapleton tweeted on March 15. “We’ll see if that has any legs. You’d expect them to explore all options on the market.”
In 2022, no Giants wideout had more than four touchdowns. Saquon Barkley, a running back, tied for the team lead with 57 catches. And two top options for quarterback Daniel Jones — Richie James and Darius Slayton — are now free agents.
It’s no surprise that general manager Joe Schoen was caught telling scouts and staffers to be on the lookout for receiver upgrades on the premiere episode of the web series “Giants Life: The Process.”
Said Schoen: “Just keep in mind, obviously, receiver. We’re pretty thin there.”
D.J. Chark or Mecole Hardman?
Chark or Hardman would help close that talent gap for Schoen — and provide Jones with a more seasoned option as he continues to evolve in the Giants’ offense.
Hardman underwent groin surgery in February, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. But offensive coordinator Mike Kafka knows from their three seasons together (2019-21) in Kansas City what Hardman can do when he’s healthy.
Hardman, who is 5-foot-10, can stretch defenses horizontally as a receiver and vertically as a runner — while also bringing big-play returning ability on special teams.
Chark would be a different kind of difference-maker in New York. At 6-foot-4, the he poses more of a red zone and jump-ball threat to defenses.
This midair adjustment isn’t something wideouts of Chark’s size can typically do.
Other Options for the New York Giants?
Clark and Hardman aren’t the only two pass catchers catching Schoen’s attention.
On March 15, the Giants signed special teams standout Jeff Smith, 26, who spent his first four seasons with the Jets and is considered more of a special teamer.
Still, Smith must’ve shown the Schoen and the Giants something on offense during last preseason’s meeting in East Rutherford.
A reunion with Odell Beckham Jr. still isn’t out of the question. The team attended Beckham Jr.’s Arizona workout last week, according to Stapleton.
Giants receiver Sterling Shepard says he talks to Beckham Jr. “every day,” according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.
“Obviously he knows that we want him here,” Shepard told Leonard before last Thanksgiving’s Giants-Cowboys game. “He would love to be here. But everything has to play out for that to happen. There’s a whole bunch of intangibles that have to play out for him to be here. And I understand that. This is a business, and his business has gotta be right for him to do it.”
If the money doesn’t work, bringing back Slayton might make sense for Big Blue. According to Stapleton, a return is “still on (the) table” despite outside interest from teams like the Falcons.
Other available free agents include Parris Campbell, Adam Thielen, Marvin Jones, Jarvis Landry, Nelson Agholor and Sammy Watkins.
The Giants still own the No. 25 overall pick and 10 selections in the draft. In short: Schoen has plenty of potential solutions to help Jones next season and beyond.