Giants Sign Ex-Bills WR, Son of Former Rams Super Bowl Champion

Giants Sign Austin Proehl

Getty New York Giants WR Austin Proehl.

Since taking over as the New York Giants‘ new general manager, Joe Schoen has kept things strictly familiar on the personnel front. Tuesday’s roster addition was no different. On February 15 the team announced the free-agent signing of wide receiver Austin Proehl. The 26-year-old North Carolina product was a seventh-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2018 — Schoen’s second season in Orchard Park serving as the assistant GM to Brandon Beane.

Proehl becomes the fourth signing of the Schoen era in East Rutherford. Like Proehl, punter Jamie Gillan, quarterback Davis Webb and running back Antonio Williams all previously spent time on the Bills roster during Beane’s five-year tenure in Buffalo.

The Son of a 2-Time Super Bowl Champion

Proehl has bounced both around the league and out of the league throughout his four-year professional career.  The Charlotte native spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Dragons (XFL), San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers before returning to Buffalo for a second and third stint towards the latter end of the 2021 season.

The Charlotte native is the son of Ricky Proehl, a former 17-year NFL veteran who captured one of his two Super Bowls as a member of the then-St. Louis Rams and their high-octane offense, better known to some as the “Greatest Show on Turf.” In 2006, Ricky came out of retirement to replace injured Indianapolis Colts wideout Brandon Stokley in Peyton Manning’s receiving arsenal, hoisting his second Lombardi Trophy in the process.

While Austin’s father hauled in nearly 700 receptions over his NFL career (playoffs included), the younger Proehl has yet to record a single catch in an NFL game. He did however record the first-ever touchdown in the re-launched XFL back in 2020. Proehl’s collegiate resume is far more noteworthy, as the now-26-year-old registered 91 receptions for 1,265 receiving yards over four seasons at Chapel Hill. He also averaged 12.8 yards per punt return. The latter of which could prove pivotal to his chances of making the roster in New York.

How Proehl Can Secure a Roster Spot With the Giants

Pharoh Cooper paced the Giants roster in 2021 with 11 returned punts. However, his contract expired at the end of the season and is no guarantee to be brought back down the road. Jabrill Peppers, who prior to injury served as the team’s primary punt returner the past two seasons, is an impending free agent — one that many believe will be priced out of Big Blue’s budget.

“As much as I’d love the Jersey native to remain in his home state, I think Peppers is going to go somewhere else,” wrote  SNY’s Scott Thompson on January 17. “If his number is around $12.5 million, the Giants just can’t do it —  The Giants just can’t afford [Peppers] even though he has been an anchor on defense these past few years.”

If Proehl can prove to be a reliable specialist in the return game, he’ll at least give himself a fighting chance to latch on to one of the Giants’ final roster spots.

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

Sign up for the Heavy on Giants Newsletter!


Read More