The New York Giants are looking at wide receivers in free agency and the market is heating up. The market moved slowly on the first day of the legal tampering period, however, it is expected to pick up today.
Jakobi Meyers was the first domino to fall, signing a 3-year, $33 million contract on Tuesday morning. His average annual salary of $11 million per year came in far below his expected market value of $15 million per season. This is good news for the Giants as they are not looking to break the bank in free agency. Here are some of the wide receiver targets to keep an eye on for the Giants in free agency:
Odell Backham Jr.
The once-unlikely reunion between Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants could soon become a reality. Beckham held a workout in Arizona earlier this week and the Giants were in attendance. There were many teams in attendance at this workout, exhibiting a competitive market to sign the 30-year-old wideout.
The Giants reportedly met with Beckham’s agent at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine prior to the announcement of his Arizona workout. New York’s interest in OBJ is nothing new. The two sides had a meeting during the 2022 season but ultimately decided to wait for the offseason to revisit a potential signing.
New York is expected to maintain their interest in Beckham as they explore their options at the wide receiver position in free agency.
Kansas City Chiefs free agent WR Mecole Hardman is a player that could make a lot of sense for the Giants. Jared Dubin of CBS Sports named the Giants as a “perfect fit” for Hardman in free agency. “Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka used to be the quarterbacks coach in Kansas City, so he likely knows Hardman’s skill set well,” Dubin explains.
“He wouldn’t be blocked by more talented players in New York like he was in K.C., so perhaps he could take the next step forward in his career. His dynamic speed would allow Kafka to use him in a variety of ways, and he’d be a good fit for the low-average-depth-of-target offense they ran with Jones last year.”
Hardman has explained that he is looking to play a larger role on offense in 2023. “I feel like in games in the past when I have had eight-plus targets, I think I’ve averaged over 90 yards every time I had eight-plus targets,” Hardman said on The Schultz Report. “So it’s like, I know I can do some things when I get targets… So maybe getting more of a role, I can get that consistently throughout a year and see what it leads to.”
The Giants, who have a lack of reliable talent in their receiving corps, would be able to give Hardman the increased role for which he is looking. Additionally, New York is in need of a new return specialist. Hardman, who was named a second-team All-Pro return specialist as a rookie in 2019, would also upgrade that position for Big Blue.
Parris Campbell is a free agent WR that Giants beat writer Art Stapleton pointed out to keep an eye on entering the second day of the legal tampering period. Campbell “is going to have a very healthy market,” per Jordan Schultz of theScore, so the Giants may find themselves in a bidding war if they do indeed pursue the Indianapolis Colts free agent.
Schultz claims several teams have told him that they believe Campbell has “a more advanced route tree in his arsenal” than what has been displayed so far in Indianapolis. At 25 years old, Campbell has yet to reach his full potential.
The Giants had the slowest wide receiving corps in the NFL last season, ranked by route-weighted 40-yard dash times (via PFF data). Campbell would instantly help them improve in this regard as he is one of the fastest players in the NFL, reaching a top speed of 22.11 MPH in Week 18 this season (the fastest of any ball carrier in 2022), per Next Gen Stats. He also recorded one of the fastest 40-yard dash times in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine, boasting 4.31s speed in 2019.
In 2022, Campbell set new career highs across the board, receiving 91 targets and hauling in 63 receptions for 623 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants could target Campbell as a young and dynamic offensive weapon that could make an impact for several seasons.
In addition to the three players listed, it is also worth noting that the Giants have expressed some prior interest in WR Cole Beasley. According to Pat Leonard of the Daily News, the Giants have their “eyes on free agent Cole Beasley.” The Giants could look to reunite Beasley with HC Brian Daboll, his former offensive coordinator from their shared time with the Buffalo Bills.
Pat Leonard also reported that the Giants have been “poking around the WR trade market.” There is a long list of receivers that have been listed as trade candidates, like Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, and Jerry Juedy. Leonard reported that New York “aggressively pursued” Jeudy near the 2022 trade deadline. Jeudy is certainly another name to keep an eye on for the Giants this offseason.