Considering left tackle Andrew Thomas recorded more touchdown passes than star receiver Kenny Golladay during the 2021 season, it is safe to say that the New York Giants need far more from their big-money signing.
Golladay signed a four-year, $72 million contract before the 2021 season, counting $21.15 million against the cap this year. He holds a $31.1 million dead money charge, which will drop to $14. 7 million next season but will still count $21.4 million if retained.
This was one of former general manager Dave Gettleman’s last gifts to new management, who will likely have to ride out his contract until after the 2023 season if they want to save a significant amount of cash.
If new GM Joe Schoen wants to move on from Golladay after the 2022 season, they will save just $6.7 million with a $14.7 million dead money hit. They could look to trade him, but there may not be teams willing to take on his bloated contract after looking at his latest production.
However, the Giants are looking to get him more active, despite lazy route running and showing inconsistent effort during training camp. Last year, he tallied just 521 yards with a 48.7% catch rate, the worst in his career.
The New York Giants tried target Golladay against the Pats:
The Giants tried to get him involved during the team’s first preseason game against the New England Patriots, targeting him downfield once and on a short slant route which he dropped in the red zone.
Big Blue didn’t give Golladay many opportunities downfield to use his big frame to win coverage battles, but Brian Daboll seems to be more willing in that area.
“That’s a big body receiver. You’re going to go up and play like a big boy,” Daboll said. “And a quarterback’s going to have to give you a chance, and it’s going to be you and the defender. Kenny’s stacked guys plenty of times here, but if he’s not stacked or he’s fighting one-on-one and you like the matchup with a smaller corner, go ahead and give it go him.”
Golladay averaged 14.1 yards per reception last season, the lowest in his career by a significant amount. During his Pro Bowl campaign back in 2019, Golladay averaged 18.3 yards per reception with 11 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 yards.
The 6’4″ receiver has taken well to the new system and what the Giants are trying to install, but he is a far different athlete compared to most of the playmakers on offense.
Golladay is fully integrated into the new scheme:
“I think he’s acclimated himself well in terms of what we’re doing,” Daboll added. “Again, all receivers, they’re different. Some are really shifty and quick. Some are big and physical. It’s just a matter of when you have an opportunity to go out there and make plays, which he’s made some of them, that you go ahead and make them. I’ve been pleased with how he’s handled himself. He’s been a pro, and he’s competing everyday with those guys.”
It won’t be easy getting the ball to Golladay during the 2022 season, especially since he’s not proficient in creating separation and doesn’t require elite speed. Since the Giants’ offensive line is bound to go through hiccups with a newly installed group of players, waiting for Golladay to get open isn’t so easy.
Options like Wan’Dale Robinson, Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney seem to be far more favorable for quarterback Daniel Jones.
Manufacturing production with good schematics will be the primary focus, but Golladay won’t be left out of the equation. He needs to be a better piece in the red zone when the field shrinks. Considering his size and aggressiveness, the Giants need to get him the ball in high leverage situations where he can utilize his body to shield off defenders.
The target share should be an interesting equation, but I’d be willing to bet he ranks 4th on that list behind the players listed above.