New York Giants could cut veteran wide receiver to save salary space

New York Giants, Darius Slayton
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) cannot catch a pass in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants currently have $6 million available in salary space but could add a bit more flexibility by cutting wide receiver Darius Slayton. Slayton is projected to earn $2.6 million this season, but the team would save $2.5 million by releasing him.

However, Slayton is one of the only speedy receivers on the roster after they allowed John Ross to leave in free agency. Last season, Slayton tallied 339 yards and two touchdowns, one of the only Giants’ receivers to get in the end zone. His straight-line quickness is an asset for Brian Daboll and Mike Kafa, but he’s had significant issues catching the football the last few seasons.

In 2021, he recorded a career-worst 18.8% drop rate, dropping six passes. He also dropped six passes in 2020 for a 10.7% drop rate. Those numbers are getting worse over time, which may play a part in the Giants saving a bit of cash and investing in different options.

According to Joran Raanan of ESPN, Slayton could be on the roster bubble:

Slayton is entering the final season of his rookie deal, and there were at least some discussions about moving him last year and this offseason. With a new regime, his spot appears uncertain, especially after spending the spring working plenty with the second team, even with the top three wide receivers injured. It didn’t help that Slayton dropped some wide-open passes deep downfield during OTAs and minicamp. If the Giants’ wide receiving corps is healthy, they do have numbers. — Jordan Raanan.

There’s no harm in keeping Slayton for the 2022 season:

However, there’s an argument to be made that Slayton is an essential piece to the offense with Daniel Jones under center.

Jones and Slayton have arguably the best chemistry on the offensive side, and taking that reliability away from Jones may be a net negative. The Giants can afford to keep Slayton around for the final year of his rookie contract, but extending him may be a bit more difficult to justify.

The former fifth-round pick has outplayed his draft spot, but the drops are a serious issue that has hurt the team at times. At the very least, Slayton should ride out the rest of his rookie deal alongside Jones.