Before we get this article kicked off, let’s get one thing out of the way – The New York Giants shouldn’t be ‘actively’ shopping slot receiver Sterling Shepard. His value to the team and offense specifically is significant, but there is a scenario where trading him would make sense.
The Giants made a dire mistake in 2018:
One of the mistakes general manager Dave Gettleman made in 2018 was not trading star safety, Landon Collins. Teams looking to add value trade players that they know will be too expensive to re-sign. Collins was seeking record-breaking money, and he received it from the Washington Redskins.
As much as it would’ve hurt at the time, trading Collins for even a third-rounder would have made sense, and teams were calling. Sending Damon Harrison and Eli Apple on their merry way was ultimately a good move, as the Giants added draft capital and are in a position to address both sides of the ball with plenty of talent.
Shepard offers a similar scenario, as the team in its current state is not a deep playoff contending team and likely won’t be for another two seasons. A young defense, an offensive line needing chemistry, a veteran quarterback in the final year of his contract – the outlook on 2019 isn’t as positive as most fans would like, and that’s the honest truth.
So, with that being said, we must prepare to trade Shepard if the team finishes the first half of the season with a sub .500 record. It’s about extracting value from existing resources and turning it into future assets. Shepard will command big-money next offseason, and with Golden Tate being signed to compete as the top slot option, it makes Shepard’s services expendable.
The New York Giants need to draft a big-bodied wideout:
My objection against trading Shepard would be the lack of talent at wideout. I don’t have faith in Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman, and Cody Latimer to replicate the influence of Odell Beckham Jr. on the outside, not even in a combined effort. Drafting a player like Hakeem Butler or N’Keal Harry would be a solid move to establish a young red-zone/deep ball threat. This would make Shepard a trading piece given the team isn’t in a position to compete for the playoffs.
To wrap up, we shouldn’t expect Shepard to be traded this offseason, but from a business perspective, he could be on the table if the Giants aren’t winning football games.
Alternatively, Shepard did earn outside reps in 2018 and will likely work out of that position alongside Tate. If they can operate at a high level in that dynamic is yet to be seen.