By Jack McKessy
There must be something about MetLife Stadium. Only the New York Jets had fewer points, yards of offense, and a worse red zone efficiency than the New York Giants. It’s no secret that their biggest issues this season stemmed from offensive troubles. Despite having a top-10 scoring defense in the NFL, New York eked out a 6-10 record that was, somehow, almost enough to win the NFC East. Out of their first seven losses of the 2020 season, all but two were one-score games. Besides Dallas, none of their opponents scored more than 25 points in those early one-score losses. If they had won just one of those games, they’d have made the playoffs as divisional champions.
Some of the blame obviously falls on Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones. Others might point to the brutal loss of Saquon Barkley to an ACL tear in Week 2. To those points, I’d counter that Jones did show improvement last year, especially in the back half of the season. Additionally, backup running back Wayne Gallman put up solid numbers after being thrust into the starting role.
The real problem with New York’s offense is their lack of an explosive playmaker. Wide receiver Darius Slayton was a surprising contributor to the team as a rookie in 2019, but he fell short of that high bar in his sophomore season. Sterling Shepard could be a good WR2 if paired with a high-level pass-catcher, but he hasn’t excelled as the primary receiver on the current depth chart. Tight end Evan Engram struggled with catching the ball all season, and his drops often happened at extremely inopportune moments. Of his 11 drops this year, three of them resulted in interceptions for the other team.
There’s a lot of pressure on Giants general manager Dave Gettleman this season to produce results and show the team and its fans that he’s had a plan all along. The first three seasons of the general manager’s tenure have all seen New York as bottom feeders not only in the NFC East, but across the NFL. The Giants are already on their second head coach under Gettleman, and it remains to be seen whether Jones—who Gettleman believed was worthy of the sixth overall pick in 2019—has what it takes to be a long-term franchise quarterback.
With the start of free agency a little more than a month away, here are three of the top offensive targets the Giants should consider locking down for the 2021 season.
Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears
Though Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin is also a free agent, it’s doubtful the Buccaneers let him leave after being such an integral part of their championship team. With that being the case, Allen Robinson is just about as good a second choice as you could ask for. The 27-year-old Robinson excelled in Chicago this year, finishing in the top 10 in both receptions and receiving yards. Pairing him with a more consistent starting quarterback—at least better than the Mitch Trubisky/Nick Foles mess in Chicago—could elevate his performance closer to his ceiling potential. As an explosive playmaker and bona fide WR1, Robinson would fit nicely into the Giants’ current receiving corps.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
Kenny Golladay was already the subject of trade rumors related to the Giants at the trade deadline this year, so we know he’s likely already on the list of New York’s potential targets this offseason. Despite missing most of the 2020 season with a hip injury, Golladay was effective in the four full games he did play, putting up 338 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 catches. Looking back at his last full season, we can see those impressive numbers persisted over a larger sample size. Golladay led the league with 11 receiving touchdowns that year, also finishing in the top 10 in receiving yards and third in yards per reception. At just 27 years old, Golladay could be a long-term solution in upgrading the Giants’ current offensive picture.
Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
On paper, Hunter Henry and Evan Engram have put up similar numbers over their young careers. Where Henry stands out above Engram is in his catch percentage and touchdowns. Henry has consistently put up better numbers in recording receptions when targeted. He’s dropped just six passes compared to Engram’s 14 in the last two years, and his missed targets have been far less costly. Of Jones’ 10 interceptions this season, SIX of them came when targeting Engram. In contrast, Justin Herbert also threw 10 interceptions in 2020, but only one when targeting Henry. In terms of scoring, the Chargers’ tight end has found the end zone at least four times in each full season he’s played. Meanwhile, Engram hasn’t scored more than three since his rookie year. Signing an efficient pass-catching and scoring tight end like Henry would be a good contingency plan for the Giants’ offense if Engram can’t overcome his drop woes.
- Aug 12, 2022
- Aug 11, 2022