The New York Giants are at a crossroads with Evan Engram.
In the early season it looked like Engram was going to be one of the top weapons on the team, as a tight end who can also run routes downfield and put pressure on opposing defenses by essentially acting as another receiver.
Many projected Engram to be one of the top targets going into the season and with Sterling Shepard concussed in week two and Golden Tate starting the season out on a suspension, there was a time this year when Engram was the top receiver by the numbers.
However, injury has disrupted that, and Engram has ended up battling injuries all season long even after a decent enough start. At this point, even if Engram comes back in the next couple of weeks, there’s only a limited number of games left and there’s a large chance that this is considered a lost season for the player either way.
Many players struggle with injuries at various times but it’s a recurring thing for Engram – in fact, one of the main storylines around Engram entering the season was whether or not he could recover from last season’s injury. Instead of doing that, he’s been wrapped up in more problems and it’s not even known yet if he’ll appear in the team’s next matchup.
The situation will force the Giants to ask a crucial question in the offseason.
Will they have some faith in Engram or will they trade him before his value drops lower?
One could compare Engram’s situation to that of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski – both are pass catching tight ends who present value as offensive threats, but have struggled with numerous injuries. Both players have missed large amounts of time while hurt but the difference between them is that Engram hasn’t presented as much value to the Giants as Gronkowski did to the Patriots.
Engram is the younger player, of course, which will play into the decision the Giants make. There’s still potential for Engram to improve his game and make himself worth keeping, but waiting on that potential to develop is a gamble, both because of Engram’s injuries and certain things which have hindered his development, such as his catching skills which could use improvement.
Other teams, though, might see a value in Engram even if he does have his problems. For now, at least. Another poor season would likely cause is trade stock to dip dramatically. Having back to back poor seasons after a strong rookie year isn’t going to instill confidence in GMs about a player, after all.
But pass catching tight ends are valuable in the largely passing based modern NFL, and there may be some team out there willing to take a gamble on one and give the Giants something worthy in return.
Whether that’s a draft pick, another player, or both remains to be seen, although the latter would be harder to get from most other teams based on Engram’s recent slump and injury problems.
But if the Giants do receive an offer, it looks like it would be wise to accept it at this point – Engram does have potential, but the last couple of seasons leave too many question marks around his future performance.
Keeping him would be a gamble, and the Giants may just be better off letting someone else take that gamble for them rather than potentially ending up with a player that underperforms as a part of the rebuilt offense of the future due to not being able to stay on the field or catch consistently.