The opener is right around the corner and the health status of the New York Giants receiving corps doesn’t look all that much more promising. Big-ticket free-agent Kenny Golladay has been reluctant to commit to playing vs. Denver, rookie first-rounder Kadarius Toney remains a complete mystery and John Ross is beginning the year on injured reserve. However, it doesn’t stop there, the tight end position is just as hobbled — if not more.
Pro Bowler Evan Engram is believed to be a “longshot” to take the field this week, while his backup Kaden Smith didn’t practice on Monday, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. That leaves Kyle Rudolph, who continues to work his way back from offseason foot surgery, as the team’s only “healthy” player at the position. In other words, the Giants could use some bodies.
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‘Tyler Eifert Could Be the Perfect Fit?’
Bleacher Reports Kristopher Knox would seemingly agree with the idea of beefing up the tight end position, urging New York to pursue a free-agent contract with Tyler Eifert. Here’s what he had to say:
Rudolph is coming off of foot surgery, while Levine Toilolo is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Adding another tight end would make sense for the Giants. A seasoned pass-catcher like Tyler Eifert could be the perfect fit.
Eifert has a long history of injuries—he missed 53 games in his first six seasons—but has played 31 games over the past two years. He caught 79 passes for 785 yards and five touchdowns during that span.
If the Giants are looking to get the most out of Jones this season, putting another proven pass-catcher on the field—and adding some valuable insurance at tight end—would help.
Eifert’s Injury History, Lackluster Production Makes This Deal a No-Go
In theory, adding a former Pro Bowler to the mix on what would likely be a veteran minimal deal looks like a savvy business move. However, having Eifert eating up a roster spot at this point in his career doesn’t make all that much sense from the Giants’ perspective.
For starters, the last thing Giants fans want is another injury-prone tight end who can’t really block — and that’s coming from a half-hearted Engram supporter. Now on top of that, take into account that Eifert is set to turn 31 years old in a few days.
Eifert has played a full 16-game season just once in his eight-year NFL career, missing a total of 54 regular-season games. He’s also struggled with production. One might say his output has slipped as he’s aged. I’d say, he’s very much still the same player he’s always been.
Aside from a single outlier season in 2015 where he hauled in 52 receptions for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, Eifert’s been a relatively low-volume player. In seasons where he’s played at least 13 games, sans 2015, he’s averaged 36.8 receptions and 2.3 touchdowns — this past season with the Jacksonville Jaguars he caught 36 passes and two touchdowns.
If Smith’s injury isn’t extensive, the Stanford product could likely put up those types of numbers if given the opportunity. We certainly know a healthy Rudolph can. Should Engram’s calf injury linger, then the idea of adding a player such as Eifert to man a specific receiving role becomes more likely. However, for now, chances are the Giants call up one or two of their tight ends from their practice squad; Chris Myarick, Jake Hausmann or Ryan Izzo.
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