New York Giants: The Expectations For Evan Engram’s Contract Year

Cay North
New York Giants, Evan Engram
Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) dives for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants have picked up the fifth year team option on Evan Engram’s rookie contract, but don’t expect everything to be smooth sailing for the tight end. Engram has consistently remained in the plans of the Giants, but with this being the last year of his contract, there’s a clear challenge in place – to either step up and perform, or risk reaching the end of the team’s patience. But what would be considered a good season for Engram and what would be considered another under-performing one?

On the field production

The main metric that Giants fans are looking for is production from Engram. His injury troubles would likely take a backseat to his statistics if he performed similarly to in his rookie season, but that hasn’t happened. As a rookie, Engram had 722 yards and six touchdowns. He drew comparisons to some of the top pass catching tight ends in the game, and it was assumed that the Giants had done well to pick a player that would improve further from these numbers in subsequent seasons.

However, that improvement didn’t come. Instead, Engram has fallen behind.

Engram only started 8 games in 2018 and 6 games in 2019, showing his injury troubles in both seasons. He had 3 touchdowns in each season and his yardage declined from 577 in 2018 to 467 in 2019.

For Engram to have a good 2020, his numbers are going to have to rebound at least above what they were in 2019. Preferably, above what they were in 2018 also. Engram does have potential, but after a couple of bad seasons, he needs to remind everyone that the potential is still there, using his play on the field.

Staying on the field

Additionally, just having a healthy season would boost production and would lessen the arguments that the Giants should trade Engram because his health will prevent his potential from being achieved.

He hasn’t had a healthy season since his first one in the league, and obviously, a player that isn’t on the field can’t contribute in-game… Either through gaining yards and touchdowns or in more subtle ways.

If Engram could just stay on the field, his slumps in 2018 and 2019 might have not happened at all – or might have been more tolerable, as Engram would still be able to play a role in other ways such as catching short passes for small yards and blocking.

The current expectation

At the end of the day, most just want to see more of the potential that Engram flashed as a rookie who had six touchdowns and broke Giants rookie records for the position. If the 2020 season goes like an ideal season, six touchdowns and 700 or so yards may be the rough expectation.

But at this point, four touchdowns may be acceptable enough, or even another three touchdown season if Engram is on the field more and is more present in the overall passing game because of it. Production can come in multiple ways, but if Engram doesn’t provide much more in any of them, this may be his last season in blue.