The New York Giants are heading into the 2021 season with far better personnel on offense compared to the 2020 campaign. Unfortunately for quarterback Daniel Jones, the team traded away one of the best receivers in the NFL upon his drafting (OBJ), and it took them two years to provide him with an arsenal of weapons most would consider adequate.
This off-season, management had one priority, upgrade the offense and provide Jones with as many supporting pieces as possible. They started with signing one of the best possession receivers in football, Kenny Golladay. The two sides agreed on a four-year, $72 million deal with an out in 2024, which would count $6.8 million in dead money. By that point, Golladay will be 30 years old and have earned $21.4 million for the 2023 campaign. However, his cap hit for this upcoming season will be just $4.47 million, which allowed the Giants to continue spending in free agency.
The question is, what does Golliday provide the Giants offense, and why is he the perfect free agent signing for Daniel Jones?
In 2019, Golladay finished with 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl appearance. This past year, he played in just five games before going down with a hamstring injury which hampered him for the remainder of the campaign. Considering the Detroit Lions have been a bottom-of-the-barrel team for quite some time, they often lose players to free agency — the Giants are expecting Golladay to take the offense to another level as a big 6’4″, 214-pound pass catcher.
Consider this, Daniel Jones completed 16 passes for 652 yards and six touchdowns when throwing the ball 20+ yards down-field in 2020. He didnâ€™t throw a single interception in that range, but Jason Garrett only called plays with him throwing the ball 20+ yards on fewer than 10% of his attempts. Of course, this can be correlated to a lack of time in the pocket due to inefficient pass blocking, but the New York Giants also ranked last in yards of separation among their receivers. Only Sterling Shepard reached the average mark of 3.0 yards of separation, per Next Gen Stats.
How will the New York Giants use Golladay?
Golladay is known for his ability to make big plays downfield, using his strength and frame to shield off defenders. Pairing an elite possession threat with a quarterback who has deadly accuracy in that intermediate/deep range is reminiscent of Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress to a degree.
Best case scenario, Jones and Golladay experience the developmental leap that Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs enjoyed last season. Allen went from throwing 20 touchdowns in 2019 to 37 last year, making his first Pro Bowl. Diggs played a significant part in his success, accounting for eight touchdown receptions and 1,535 yards, a career-high by a large margin. He also garnered 127 receptions out of the 572 total attempts from Allen. I fully expect Jones to be looking Kenny’s way frequently this upcoming year, otherwise, his signing wouldâ€™ve been for naught.
The reality is, Jones will go as far as the offensive line takes him, but the influx of weapons should command additional attention from defenders, dragging blitzers out of the box.