INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 23: Evan Engram #88 of the New York Giants runs the ball in the game against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

There have been numerous speculations on what the New York Giants will do with the talented but often injured Evan Engram this offseason.

Jason Leach

One of the many questions looming over the New York Giants this offseason is whether or not to exercise the fifth-year option on tight end Evan Engram. He’s talented, he’s athletic, but he’s injury-prone. This will all factor into general manager Dave Gettleman‘s verdict on Engram’s future, which will be an enormous decision for the organization.

When healthy, Engram has been know to put on a show. With the Giants receiving corps decimated by injuries during his rookie season in 2017, he led the team in receptions (64) and touchdowns catches (six) while appearing in 15 games.

But the consistency hasn’t been there since. The number of matchups he took part in during his rookie campaign is still a single-season career-high. An MCL sprain along with a hamstring setback would cause him to miss five games in 2018. He would then miss eight games in 2019, including the final seven matchups due to a foot injury that required surgery.

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In his three seasons with Big Blue, he’s appeared in 34 of a possible 48 games, recording 153 receptions for 1,766 yards and 12 touchdowns. Obviously, he and the Giants were hoping for more production. The fact that the San Francisco 49ers took George Kittle 123 picks after Engram in the 2017 draft (No. 146 overall) makes his tenure with the Giants that much more disappointing.

Just looking at the numbers, it’s clear Kittle’s production rate is plenty higher than Engram’s.

Games played Receptions Yards Yards/Reception Touchdowns
Engram 34 153 1,766 11.5 12
Kittle 45 216 2,945 13.6 12

 

It’s frustrating for a franchise when you employ a talented player who can’t stay healthy. As the saying goes, a player’s best ability is availability. This is why Gettleman has such a tough decision on his hands.

The Giants have until May 30 to exercise Engram’s fifth-year option. If they decide not to, he’ll be a free agent after the 2020 season barring an extension.

Another option for Gettleman would be to trade the 25-year-old tight end. One of the teams that should be interested in Engram is the New England Patriots. The Bill Belichick-led franchise is in desperate need of a playmaker at the tight end position.

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Sooner than later, Engram will want to cash in on a lucrative contract while he’s still in his prime. Knowing this, and the fact that the Giants will need plenty of cap room over the next few years to keep some of their key players, it may behoove Gettleman to part ways with Engram.

The Giants already possess a capable tight end on their roster in Kaden Smith. In his rookie year in 2019, he caught 31 balls for 268 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.

But it’s not easy to find game-breaking tight ends like Engram who are 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, faster than some receivers, and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

Engram’s game-breaking ability was on display in Week 3 last season against the Tampa Buccaneers when he caught a short pass from Daniel Jones, eluded a defender, and raced down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown reception. The play propelled the Giants to erase a 28-10 deficit into a 32-31 victory.

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When he’s able to be on the field, Engram is effective. He recorded at least six receptions in five of the eight games he played last season. But his durability is a major concern. This makes Gettleman’s pending decision on what to do with him one of the toughest choices facing the Giants.

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