One of the NFL’s ‘Biggest Position Upgrades’: Giants Signing Applauded

Giants' signing of Kenny Golladay among NFL's biggest upgrades

Getty New York Giants free agent signee Kenny Golladay.

The New York Giants entered last season the same way they have in years past, with questions at the receiver position. Making up the team’s top-three targets at the position was a serviceable yet injury-prone Sterling Shepard, an intriguing yet mostly unproven Darius Slayton, and an aging Golden Tate who was growing increasingly frustrated with his diminishing role.

While you can certainly put some of the blame on quarterback Daniel Jones, or even the offensive line, the limitations out-wide certainly played a part in Big Blue finishing the year as the league’s fourth-worst ranked passing offense. Thankfully, the Giants’ brass had clearly seen enough, taking initiative this offseason to elevate the talent level at the position.

In return, the team said goodbye to the 32-year-old Golden Tate, moved Shepard and Slayton down the pecking order, used a first-round pick on all-purpose maven Kadarius Toney and took a flyer on a former first-rounder John Ross. However, all these moves came secondary to the team’s biggest free agency splash, the $72 million signing of Kenny Golladay. ESPN’s Mike Clay believes that move has helped the Giants’ receiving corps undergo one of the league’s biggest transformations.

The latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on Giants Newsletter!

Giants WRs Among the NFL’s Biggest Position Upgrades

While some may still scoff at Golladay’s annual $18 million salary, Clay believes the Giants hit a home run with their ability to plug him in for an underperforming Tate, listing the move as the seventh-best position upgrade of the NFL offseason.

7. New York Giants, WR: Kenny Golladay replaces Golden Tate
Tate’s 2020 stat line: 52 targets, 35 receptions, 388 yards, 2 TDs
Golladay’s 2021 projection: 120 targets, 70 receptions, 1,072 yards, 7 TDs

I realize these two don’t play the same position — Golladay is a big, vertical perimeter weapon, whereas Tate primarily works the short area from the slot — but Tate is out and Golladay is in when the Giants roll with three-WR sets. New York has quickly put together one of the league’s deepest wide receiver corps, having also added first-round pick Kadarius Toney and speedy John Ross to a group that includes Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.

Golladay was limited to four full games due to injury last season but was his usual dominant self when active. In those four games, he racked up 338 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 28 targets. The 27-year-old’s last full season was his best pro campaign, as he posted a strong 65-1,190-11 receiving line in 2019. With a talented and deep supporting cast, third-year QB Daniel Jones has the tools he needs for a breakout season.

Golladay is Much More Than a Big-Body Target

The Giants amassed just 17 big play passes (25-plus yards) in 2020, tied for the fewest in the NFL. As for quarterback Daniel Jones, his 11 touchdown passes ranked 29th league-wide. The addition of Golladay will undoubtedly help bolster those numbers. Just one year removed from leading the league with 11 touchdowns, the 6-foot-4-inch, 214-pound wideout is typically pigeonholed as a possession receiver and red zone threat. However, Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash believes it would be wise to broaden your evaluation of the former Lion, ranking him as the third-best deep threat in all of football. 

“Despite missing most of the 2020 season, Golladay ranks fourth among NFL wide receivers in deep receiving yards over the past three years, and he was just nine yards behind third place,” Treash wrote. “He’s not racking up these yards by separating multiple steps away from coverage defenders like Tyreek Hill, but rather from bodying cornerbacks with his sheer size. Golladay jumps to No. 1 in deep receiving yards since 2018 on tight coverage targets, and he is tied for first in deep receptions on those same plays (14).”


For more Giants content, follow @VinnySomma on Twitter.
Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x