New York Giants Still Committed To Injury Plagued Evan Engram

The New York Giants haven’t exactly gotten what they expected when they drafted Evan Engram, but the team still remains committed to the tight end according to Paul Schwartz. Engram has, of coursed, missed significant time over the past couple of years with injuries and hasn’t been able to get back to the level of play from his rookie season.  But despite these problems, the Giants aren’t thinking of a move that would send Engram away and stop the bleeding while getting something back while they still can.

According to the New York Post, it wasn’t even a move that the Giants considered making this offseason.

Stop asking.

Evan Engram is returning for a fourth season with the Giants, and no, the new coaching regime did not consider dumping him.

Before the trade deadline, Engram was supposedly one of the untouchable players that the Giants wouldn’t consider moving. It seems their commitment to keeping him has remained strong, although it raises questions about why the organization has so much faith in a player that hasn’t been able to achieve his potential and hasn’t even been able to stay on the field for a significant chunk of his career.

During his rookie season, Engram had an impressive 6 touchdowns and 722 yards, and most fans believed that subsequent years would improve upon that performance. That hasn’t quite been the case with Engram not being able to stay healthy for much of the time during the next two seasons, and a yards count which decreased in both 2018 and 2019.

Still, it looks like Engram is the answer for the Giants when it comes to pass catching tight ends, simply because the organization won’t consider moving on from him. Is it for the better? That may depend on Engram’s performance this year. A third straight mediocre season, after all, would say something about the odds of Engram reaching the potential he showed as a college prospect and later as a rookie.

Can the New York Giants depend on Evan Engram to stay healthy in 2020 and what are their options?

The tight end position for the New York Giants has been problematic over the past few seasons, especially in the injury department where they lost Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison last season to injury.

Engram, though, has been the focal point of the Giants’ offense at times, when he’s on the field. Still, his inability to remain healthy has significantly affected the efficiency of the unit. In his rookie season, Engram played in 15 games, showing no signs of being injury prone. However, the past two seasons have been plagued with ailments, as last year, he missed eight games with a knee injury and a mid-foot sprain that required surgery.

The speedy tight end doesn’t have much time before the Giants have to decide on the fifth year of his rookie contract. They can either pick up his fifth year and keep him on the team for 2021, or they can decline the option and send him to the free agency market after the 2020 campaign.

However, the best choice is to pick up his fifth-year option and attempt to trade him at the deadline this upcoming season if he underperforms — that way, the Giants can at least recoup some value rather than letting him hit the market freely.

Has Evan Engram been valuable for the New York Giants when he’s on the field?

Engram is one of the more polarizing tight ends in the game when he’s healthy, but that’s the problem, he’s rarely on the field, and when he is, there’s usually a lingering ailment holding him back.

Since his inception in 2017, Engram’s numbers have steadily decreased, and so has the quantity of games he’s played. NFL players don’t spontaneously rid themselves of being injury-prone, which indicates that the Giants might endure another sporadic bout in 2020. I wouldn’t bet on him playing a full season anytime soon, and while it’s not impossible, finding value in terms of a trade might not be a terrible idea.

What are the New York Giants’ needs on offense and how can they address them?

This off-season for the New York Giants will be tailored around bolstering the defensive side of the ball. With coronavirus potentially setting back the new league year, general manager Dave Gettleman will have more time to evaluate incoming free agents and players in the NFL Draft. Ultimately, with a new head coach in Joe Judge, this is a positive thing for the team as they continue to rebuild and retool both sides of the ball. While defense remains the biggest hole, the offense still needs more resource allocation to reach his potential finally.

With tight end, Rhett Ellison announcing his retirement last week, finding another blocking TE to pair with Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Garrett Dickerson, and C.J. Conrad will be a priority. Both Engram and Smith more skilled in the passing game but failed to be significant impacts in run blocking efficiency.

I anticipate the Giants and Gettleman going out and finding a replacement for Ellison. One decent option is former Green Bay Packer Jimmy Graham. Graham, who is 33 years old, is coming off a decent season with the Packers. He posted 447 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games. Having spent the last two seasons in Green Bay, he will be looking to join a new team, and his ability in the run blocking game could pay dividends for a team like the Giants.

Graham’s usage won’t be tailored towards receiving abilities, but rather a big body who can hold his own on the line of scrimmage. The big question here might be Graham’s contract, but considering his age and coming off two lackluster seasons, the Giants could land him for $5–6 million per season on a one or two year deal. It could be worth it for the sake of Saquon Barkley’s productivity inefficiency in the run game.

The New York Giants must find a new right tackle:

Aside from the tight end position, right tackle remains a significant void, especially since Mike Remmers seems to be hitting the free-agent market without any consideration of retention. Jack Conklin remains the best option in free agency for Gettleman, but his price tag will likely be far too high considering his issues in pass protection. The Giants are better off allocating a draft pick in the first or second round to the position in hopes that they can develop a player into their starter for the foreseeable future.

Aside from tight end and right tackle, the Giants could be in the market for a new center after Jon Halapio tore his Achilles tendon toward the end of the 2019 season. Lions’ Graham Glasgow could be an option in free agency as well — the trend here revolves around Daniel Jones and ensuring he has ample protection.

New York Giants Tight End Room Takes A Hit With Rhett Ellison Retirement

Rhett Ellison may have never been a dominating player during his career, but that doesn’t mean the tight end wasn’t important for the New York Giants. He backed up Evan Engram, but since Engram isn’t the most reliable player and has missed time over the past couple of seasons with injury, and hasn’t always played the best when he is on the field and healthy, backup tight end has been a somewhat relevant position for the Giants over recent years.

It’s one of the primary reasons why Rhett Ellison started 12 games in 2018 and 7 in 2019 – during both seasons, the Giants had big expectations for Engram, who let down in both of them with 8 and 6 starts respectively and three touchdowns on the year both times.

The Giants also released Scott Simonson this offseason, removing from the roster a player who was seen at times when neither Ellison or Engram were on the field.

The fact that there’s no Simonson on the team now makes Ellison’s retirement due to concussion hit the Giants’ tight end room harder – in 2020, if they don’t add anyone else, they’ll have to rely on Evan Engram and Kaden Smith. The latter only joined the team in 2019 and had the same amount of touchdowns as Engram in less games. He could be a game changer, but it’s hard to know. We don’t have a sample size, and other teams will have more film on Smith this year.

The other player is Evan Engram. Despite being eternally promising, we have yet to see Engram repeat his rookie season. It was hard for Engram to even stay on the field last season with injury trouble hitting him hard, which is why it was somewhat strange that the Giants have shown a commitment in keeping him instead of moving on before it’s too late to get something good in return.

Assuming the Giants don’t add anyone else to their roster, they’ll have to go into this season with just Engram and Smith as their main options, and will just have to deal with the inconsistency of the former and the inexperience of the latter. Of course, Smith was promising in the games he did play last year – this could be a great chance for a step forward for him.

But the Giants don’t have Ellison waiting in reserve to fill in for either player if they can’t perform to standard or if injury strikes once again for Engram – and that might have a bigger impact than Ellison’s numbers would suggest.

New York Giants have a young tight end climbing the ranks

When the New York Giants shut Evan Engram down for the remainder of the 2019 campaign after he succumbed to a foot sprain, they resorted to young Kaden Smith, who was previously drafted in the 6th round by the San Francisco 49ers and was then waived and claimed by the Giants.

Smith emerged as a talented tight end for the Giants who could potentially represent the future. While he struggled in run-blocking and pass protection at times, he was a serviceable pass-catcher for rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones.

Smith finished with 268 yards over 31 catches, amassing a 73.8% completion rate, far surpassing Engram’s high of 70.3% in 2018.

How did injuries affect the New York Giants’ offense in 2019?

After Engram and Rhett Ellison picked up injuries, the Giants were limited from using 12-personnel grouping, resorting to 11-personnel on 70% of plays, according to Sharp Football Stats. This hurt the productivity of the unit as a whole and caused them to run more predictable schemes.

The Giants don’t seem to be in the best shape at the tight end position, considering Engram is still in a walking boot three months after having surgery. While “Easy E” is a swiss army knife for Big Blue and represents the modern-day tight end with his speed and elusiveness, his inability to remain healthy has severely hurt his efficiency.

Having missed nearly an entire season’s worth of games over the past two years, GM Dave Gettleman has a decision to make. Does he retain Engram and keep him for the fourth year of his contract, attempt to trade him in free agency or at the trade deadline next season, or pick up his fifth-year option and continue forward with confidence?

I believe he should let the season play out for Engram, rejecting his fifth-year option and attempting to trade him to a contending team in need of a tight end. This would maximize his value and allow the Giants to gain from him, given they aren’t in a position to earn a playoff spot.

Overall, I’m confident that Smith can handle a full workload and be the Giants’ starting option for the foreseeable future.