Giants: 2 players with a lot to lose in the final weeks of the season

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller (12) catches a touchdown pass during the first half in front of Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (52) at MetLife Stadium
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With the New York Giants’ abysmal season entering the final stretch, there are plenty of names on the roster whose spot on the team is at stake the rest of the way.

The Giants have a decision to make about Darren Waller’s future

It has not been the dream first season in New York for tight end Darren Waller. He’s missed over a month with a hamstring injury and has not been a significant force while on the field.

Overall this season, he has just one touchdown in nine games played and is averaging 10.2 yards/reception, his lowest in a single season since 2016. Projected to be one of the Giants’ top receiving targets entering the season, his continued inability to stay healthy has hampered him drastically, which has also hurt the G-men offensively.

With a potential generational tight end in Georgia’s Brock Bowers expected to land in the top 10 of this upcoming NFL draft, Waller’s long-term spot on this team may not be as secure.

It is clear that New York has a lot of work to do to build a strong offensive unit, and if Waller wants to be a part of the solution, he is going to need to have some impressive performances the rest of the way.

Xavier McKinney is still seeking an extension

What started out as a slow season for safety Xavier McKinney has quickly turned into a productive one.

McKinney, who is a free agent after the season, has a Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 80.3 and a career-high 94 combined tackles. He also has one tackle for loss and an interception on the season.

One of the biggest questions coming into the season for the fourth-year safety was availability, as he missed eight games last season with a broken hand suffered in an ATV accident. However, he has been more than available this season, as he has played all 14 games so far this season as well as played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in those games, one of only three players in the NFL to do so in 2023, including teammate linebacker Bobby Okereke.

The Giants were reluctant to give McKinney an extension prior to this season. While his on-field performance improves his chances to return, it has not been all sunshine and flowers surrounding McKinney.

Earlier this season, McKinney made comments targeting the coaching staff, which left defensive coordinator Wink Martindale “hurt.” While those comments are in the past, they are not reversible.

For McKinney to be a part of the long-term growth of the Giants, he has to keep his foot on the gas, finish out 2023 on a high note, and avoid getting bad press.

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