Kenny Golladay was just the high-impact free agency signing the New York Giants needed this offseason, but his hamstring injury has kept him out longer than they expected. Is there reason to worry?
The Giants entered the 2021 offseason needing to find more explosive weapons for their offense. The uncertainty surrounding running back Saquon Barkley’s ACL recovery aside, receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard looked more like a couple of good second options, but neither took over as a bonafide WR1. It’s a problem the Giants have had out wide since the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. in 2019. New York finished with the second-fewest offensive yards per game in the NFL.
Golladay’s signing looked like the perfect remedy to a struggling offense. In an injury-shortened 2020 season, he put up 338 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 catches. In 2019, he led the league with 11 receiving touchdowns and was third in yards per reception (18.3). After four years in the NFL, Golladay has established himself as a true explosive and efficient offensive playmaker, and the Giants signed him to a massive deal to give quarterback Daniel Jones a real weapon on the outside.
The concern with Golladay now is the injury trouble. He only appeared in five games in 2020 before injuring his hip and missing the remainder of the season. This preseason, he suffered a hamstring injury at the beginning of August. Despite initial reports that they didn’t believe the injury was serious—one that was supposed to keep him out just 2-3 weeks –– Golladay missed the entire preseason and he only returned to practice on Tuesday, four weeks after suffering the injury.
Missing an entire slate of preseason games is not ideal for any player, but it’s an even worse situation for a player in his first season with a new team. Golladay hasn’t been able to get any in-game reps with his new quarterback because of the injury. Now he has just under two weeks to prepare with his new offense before New York’s Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Should Giants fans be worried about Golladay’s extended absence? Well, yeah. New York has been facing a ton of injuries, and they still have some question marks around players trying to return from injuries. Barkley, still working to return from an ACL tear in 2020, still hasn’t been named the starter in the backfield Week 1, and head coach Joe Judge said that decision wouldn’t come until next week. Tight end Evan Engram injured his calf and Slayton injured his ankle in the final game of the preseason, and it’s possible that at least Engram if not both he and Slayton are out for the season opener. On top of those three, tight end and newcomer Kyle Rudolph and first-round pick Kadarius Toney have been out with injuries as well, though at least Toney is optimistic he’ll be ready for the Broncos game.
The point I’m making here is that Golladay’s injury trouble would be concerning even in a vacuum. The Giants are hoping that the mega-deal they signed him to ages well—that Golladay’s production reflects the money he’s making. Coming off a season in which he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury, it’s not ideal that he’s now missed every preseason game the following year with another lower-body injury.
Since this isn’t a vacuum, the circumstances the Giants face now make Golladay’s injury that much more frustrating. New York desperately needs offensive weapons this season if they want to improve upon an abysmal 2020 offense, and with so many playmakers fighting through injuries this early, it’s not unreasonable to have concern for them going into 2021.
Golladay finally returned to practice on Tuesday, and he and the Giants hope to see a return to high-level production from him. A good first step would be staying healthy for the season opener against Denver, and we’ll see then whether he brings all the offensive production that New York has hoped for over with him from Detroit.
- Dec 06, 2022
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