The New York Giants have a list of wide receivers set to become free agents this offseason. Among them is veteran Sterling Shepard who has been with the team since his career began in 2016. Shepard is currently the longest-tenured Giants player, but New York will need to decide whether or not his tenure is coming to an end.
Sterling Shepard signed a 4 year, $41 million contract with the New York Giants in 2019. That contract will expire this offseason, making Shepard an unrestricted free agent in March. That is, however, unless the Giants extend Shepard ahead of free agency. Signing Sterling Shepard to an extension would be a low-cost move, but New York will need to decide if it is one that is worth making.
Young Shep is not so young anymore, as the seventh-year receiver turns 30 years old this month. Shepard is a veteran receiver on the wrong side of 30 coming off of two season-ending lower-body injuries. A torn Achilles ended Shepard’s 2021 season and his 2022 season was also cut short by a torn ACL.
Sterling has not played a full season since 2018 and has an extensive injury history that has caused him to miss a significant amount of playing time throughout his career.
The Giants seem to want Shepard back
Despit not being on the field for the majority of the 2022 season, Sterling Shepard found a way to make an impact. Shepard became the Giants’ ultimate hype-man on the sideline, something that head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen seem to place a lot of value in.
“Love Shep,” Schoen said. “He’s awesome; juice guy all the time. He’s one of my favorites here.”
Brian Daboll delivered a similar message, saying “He’s one of the better leaders that I’ve been around — very selfless… So, he’s been great. Very fortunate for him to be here.”
Schoen and Daboll seem to want to keep Sterling Shepard around for what he provides the team as a locker room leader. On the field, Shepard is pretty valuable, too, posting 51.3 yards per game with 154 yards and 13 receptions and a touchdown through the first three games of the 2022 season prior to his injury.
Sterling Shepard may be an aging and often-injured veteran, but he is still a high-quality player when he is healthy and is an exceptional teammate at all times. The New York Giants should extend Shepard on a low-cost, short-term deal this offseason to maintain the locker room’s leadership and provide Daniel Jones with a reliable veteran receiving option.