It’s been one full season and a third of a preseason since wide receiver Kenny Golladay signed his four-year, $72 million contract with the New York Giants, and the signing that seemed questionable from the beginning has only looked worse since.
Before getting to New York, Golladay was well on his way to establishing himself as one of the best receivers in this generation of the NFL. He had already earned the nickname “Babytron” in Detroit as the seeming successor of Calvin Johnson—a.k.a. Megatron—as the Lions’ young, new No. 1 receiver with a similar frame to Johnson’s. He was named to his first Pro Bowl after his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2019. That season, his 1,190 receiving yards were sixth-most among all wide receivers, his 18.3 yards per reception were third best, and his 11 touchdowns were the most receiving touchdowns by any player.
In 2020, Golladay was unable to build on the success of his monster season thanks to a couple of lower-body injuries—specifically a hamstring injury and then a hip injury. Still, when he was on the field, he was producing. In the five games he played that year, Golladay caught 20 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 16.9 yards per catch and on pace for 1,081 yards and six touchdowns in a full 16-game season.
As a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Golladay wasn’t eligible for a fifth-year option after 2020, but the expectation was that he’d be one of the most in-demand free agents of the 2021 offseason. The free agent market for wide receivers that offseason was slim and Golladay was pretty clearly the cream of the crop. Former Titans receiver Corey Davis and former Panther Curtis Samuel just didn’t move the needle quite like Golladay.
For the Giants to be the team that landed Golladay, it seemed like a big deal at the time. New York was trying to have 2021 be the year they got an answer on Daniel Jones’ potential to be their long-term starting quarterback, and getting him significant receiver help was a big part of the equation. Golladay, in theory, would give the Giants and Jones a bona fide No. 1 receiver in front of incumbents Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, neither of whom had proven themselves to be more than a WR2.
Well, Golladay got to New York and fell off a metaphorical cliff. His production plummeted with a career-low 14.1 yards per reception on 37 catches for 521 yards in 14 starts. For the first time in his career, he didn’t score a single touchdown. Some blame goes to former Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, whose lack of creativity led the team to one of the worst offensive performances in the NFL last year. As bad as Golladay’s production was compared to his previous years, he still led the Giants in receiving yards.
There were also injury issues that kept him out of training camp for some time and kept him from building chemistry with Jones early. Finally, there was also the horrendous quarterback play the Giants got for a significant portion of last season. Backups Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm put on some of the worst quarterbacking performances of all time last season after Jones went down, and Golladay’s production suffered from that as well.
But some of the blame also has to go to Golladay. After a few weeks of training camp and New York’s first preseason game, that’s become clear.
The veteran receiver just does not look motivated on the football field. Golladay is hardly creating separation downfield with bad releases and poor effort off the line of scrimmage.
No release just vibes pic.twitter.com/NElGcaWDRP
— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) August 11, 2022
Im so disappointed. pic.twitter.com/390OCowqbK
— Ashton Anthony (@ashtongriffith_) August 6, 2022
Even when he’s gotten open, he recently showed susceptibility to dropping the ball.
3rd down and…. Kenny Golladay drops it. pic.twitter.com/u5nLX1nZ7h
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) August 11, 2022
The regular season is still about a month away, yet Golladay already looks checked out and occasionally just plain bad. The veteran receiver recently said that he’s his own harshest critic, so the Giants and their fans have to hope that he can work himself out of this hole one way or another.
If something doesn’t change quickly, his big-splash contract, which already seemed questionable from the outset, will only look worse. It could be another long season ahead in New York.
- Sep 27, 2022
- Sep 27, 2022