Giants Signing Kenny Golladay Could Save Their Offseason and Boost Their Offense

Wide+receiver+Kenny+Golladay+recently+signed+with+the+Giants%2C+providing+some+hope+for+an+offense+that+needs+it.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay recently signed with the Giants, providing some hope for an offense that needs it. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Stephen Lebitsch, Staff Writer

Things were becoming very concerning for the New York Giants as the NFL opened the legal tampering period and consequently its new league year with free agency on March 17. As petitions came from outside the Giants to lock up unrestricted talent for at least another season or bolster their struggling offense, not a peep was heard from the team. At least the Jets were making some intriguing signings, leaving the other half of New York wondering, “Where are the Giants?”

On Saturday, Big Blue finally woke from its free agency slumber to land a huge signing and cease the gnashing of teeth coming from the fanbase. 

After a couple of meetings with team ownership and front office personnel, free agent and former Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay agreed to a deal to join the Giants. According to sources familiar with the deal, Golladay is committed for four years with a salary of $72 million which could possibly go up to as much as $76 million. Around $40 million of the contract is guaranteed, and if Golladay is to receive the maximum value of the deal, it would make him one of the highest-paid receivers in the league. 

Golladay finds his new home in East Rutherford after the Detroit Lions were unable to offer him a suitable deal to match his standing as their number one receiver that wouldn’t involve placing him on the franchise tag. Last fall, Golladay rejected a contract offer from the Lions that was believed to be valued at $17 million per season, and the Lions had turnover in their general manager and head coaching positions shortly after, stopping any conversations between the two sides.

“I’m going to go out there and do all I can to help this offense go. Whenever they need me, I’m going to be there,” said Golladay following the news of his deal.

Several other teams, including Chicago and Baltimore, kept themselves in the mix for Golladay and made late pushes to attract him to their cities, but the 2017 third-round pick seemed to be most drawn to what the Giants offered him. Golladay also mentioned the role of quarterback Daniel Jones in his consideration to join the Giants. 

“It was really just the pieces on offense,” said Golladay about the intrigue of the team. “Those guys actually kind of reached out to me, and I like the vision that Coach Judge has and Coach Garrett, as far as the offense, and that had me right there.”

“[Jones] just said how good of a player he thought I was, and I pretty much said the same thing about him,” Golladay said about Jones reaching out during the process. “He’s still kind of fresh in the league a little bit, and I kind of want to grow with him. I feel like me and him can do some good things. We haven’t gotten on the practice field yet, but we’re both very excited.”

Helping the Giants offense is something Golladay is fully capable of doing. Since entering the league, Golladay has tallied 3,068 yards, scored 21 touchdowns and averaged 16.8 yards per reception, with 13 of those touchdowns coming in his last 21 games. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-19 and led the NFL in touchdown catches with 11 in 2019.

Golladay did have some injury woes this past season due to his hamstring, but in just six games he managed to catch 20 passes for 338 yards. 

Reaching a deal with one of the marquee wide receivers in free agency is obviously a huge addition for the Giants, but it also could arguably be the move that saves their offseason from disappointment. Prior to signing Golladay, the Giants were losing pieces from last season and not impressing anybody who follows them closely. They finally reached a deal with Leonard Williams to avoid placing the franchise tag on him again, but unfortunately they could not retain his fellow defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, who signed with the Vikings. 

None of the other signings they had made at that point were turning heads either. For a team that was severely drained of cap space that made some adjustments and surprise cuts to clear up some cap room, it was highly questionable for them to use that cap space to the tune of $23.4 million on players like quarterback Mike Glennon and running back Devontae Booker, who likely won’t see the field often. The Giants are now strapped for cap space again and will likely need to restructure a few more contracts in order to save enough cap room for the rookies they will draft in April. 

Having Golladay as the newest weapon in its arsenal could make the Giants offense one of the scariest in the league this season. Golladay stands at 6’4″ and has the strength to get up and outmatch defenders for some of the most contested throws. Many of his top highlights come on deep passes down the side of the field, where he excels at finding the open spaces or beating the defender to those spots en route to the endzone.

Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram return as notable receiving targets for Jones as well. However, the most important reunion will be that of star running back Saquon Barkley, who returns to the active roster from a torn ACL in week two of last season. With Golladay out wide and a healthy Barkley in the backfield, the Giants will have the firepower to boost their offense that ranked second to last in scoring in 2020. 

The question that remains unanswered is whether Jones will take the next step to grow as a quarterback with this newly bolstered offense at his fingertips. Last season, Jones threw for 2,943 yards and 11 touchdowns but struggled early with interceptions and protecting the football in crucial drives. Jones is very mobile, as one of the fastest quarterbacks, so if he can unite the running and throwing aspects of his game and gel with his receivers, it could translate to a big year for Big Blue. 

Being more offensively efficient in 2021 will be a key for the Giants to win more games, as lack of production offensively was the difference maker in several of their losses last season. Welcoming Golladay is the right step in that direction.