Why the New York Giants may cut WR Darius Slayton

New York Giants, Darius Slayton
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) rushes in the first half against the Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in East Rutherford. Nyg Vs Was

The New York Giants have a few decisions to make prior to the start of the 2022 season. One of them is regarding wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Slayton has been inconsistent for the Giants the past few seasons, seeing his production drop off significantly last year. As a rookie in 2019, Slayton recorded 740 yards and eight touchdowns. During his sophomore season, he produced 751 yards and three scores, showing an increase in receiving yards but not as much success in the end zone. However, he had his worst season to date in 2021, posting 339 yards and just two scores.

Slayton’s regression can be partially justified by the existence of Jason Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator. With Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka taking over the unit, the expectation is that the receivers will benefit. Slayton finds himself in a peculiar situation, despite better coaches.

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The New York Giants could go for money over speed:

The fourth-year veteran is projected to earn $2.6 million this season, a nice chunk of change the Giants can reallocate toward another spot. The team signed former Las Vegas Raiders receiver Keelan Doss on Friday, who could compete with Slayton.

Nonetheless, Darius has been showing dependability during OTA, but that might not be enough to sustain his roster spot.

“He’s been dependable,” Daboll said of Slayton earlier in OTAs. “He’s known what to do. He doesn’t talk a whole lot. Pretty quiet guy but a pro. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, how he handles his business both on and off the field. He’s done a good job.”

Slayton‘s biggest issue has been his drop rate over the past three seasons. Last year, he posted an 18.8% drop rate, collecting six on 55 targets. That is an unacceptable number that can’t be tolerated at the NFL level, especially when the Giants are trying to rejuvenate a malnourished offense.

With the team drafting Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round, there’s an argument to be made that Slayton is currently the 5th receiver on the roster. Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Robinson, and Sterling Shepard all rank ahead of him, but none contain his speed.

Slayton‘s route tree is limited, but he’s extremely fast on 9-routes, beating defenders over the top. The Giants would like to have one speedster on the roster, so I can see why they would retain him for the final year of his rookie contract. However, if they want to save the $2.6 million in salary space, I wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Joe Schoen moved on in favor of a more cost-efficient option.