There seems to be some tension between the New York Giants organization and one particular member of the New York media on the topic of wide receiver Kadarius Toney.
A little over a week ago, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reported that the Giants were shopping Toney on the trade market. At the time, Toney was drawing headlines for his curious decision to stay away from the team’s voluntary minicamp practices.
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Although Toney ultimately reported to the Giants facilities and worked out with the team last Monday, the ongoing saga took an interesting twist when New York spent a second-round pick (43rd overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft on wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson.
After the pick, Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll held a press conference to discuss Robinson’s fit with the team. During that discussion, Schoen and Leonard had a contentious exchange about whether Toney is still on the trade block.
Here’s the full press conference, courtesy of the New York Giants’ official YouTube account, but skip to the 3:30 mark to hear the part about Toney.
It starts with a question about Toney, directed at Daboll.
“Yeah, I said Kadarius had a good week,” Daboll said. “It was good to see him jump in and chugging along.”
That’s when Leonard jumps in: “Have you shut the door on trying to trade him?” he asked.
Schoen laughed at the question, shared a glance with Daboll, then answered.
“We’re not shopping Kadarius Toney,” Schoen said with a shrug.
Leonard must not have thought that answer was sufficient, because he followed it up with almost the same question.
“You’re not going to trade him?” he asked.
“Reflect on what I just said,” Schoen answered, seemingly a bit irritated by the line of questioning.
From there, the press conference moved on without any more questions about Toney.
Kadarius Toney vs. Wan’Dale Robinson
Even if Schoen is telling the truth and Toney remains in New York’s future plans, it’s interesting to imagine how he and Robinson can both fit in Daboll’s offense. They are similar players, both versatile playmakers with lots of speed and lateral quickness.
Toney (5-11, 189 lbs.) is not a large receiver, but he’s a little bit bigger than Robinson (5-8, 178 lbs.) at least. Both of them have experience playing another position, as Toney was a converted quarterback coming out of high school and Robinson was a converted running back after transferring from Nebraska to Kentucky. They were both All-SEC performers in college.
Toney and Robinson both look like gadget playmakers, as opposed to true No. 1 outside receivers. They are most impactful in creative formations/packages, where they can use their speed and athleticism to create mismatches in the slot, out of the backfield or in motion on a jet sweep. If you’re trying to imagine the top-end potential, think Tyreek Hill when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs (he’s now with the Miami Dolphins).
Will these two be competing for reps in the same role? How do you create enough touches to keep both playmakers satisfied? Was the selection of Robinson an insurance plan, in case things with Toney quickly go south?
These are questions Giants fans should be wondering heading into the 2022 season.
‘We Didn’t Sign Him to Trade Him’
Friday night did not mark Leonard’s first contentious exchange with a Giants general manager. You might remember a similar situation in 2019, when he was pressing former GM Dave Gettleman on the possibility of trading wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. shortly after signing him to a new contract extension.
Gettleman, like Schoen, tried to shut down Leonard for asking the question.
“We didn’t sign him to trade him,” Gettleman infamously answered (via SNY).
We all know how that ended.
Is Schoen all that different from Gettleman? Toney’s future with the team will help us find out.