The New York Giants have a pretty significant decision to make this offseason regarding tight end Evan Engram.
The Giants–Evan Engram marriage is a back-and-forth relationship. Some days it’s all fine and dandy. Other days it’s the opposite. Most days, however, you have no idea what to expect.
Engram carries talent, and when healthy and on his game, can be one of the more talented and versatile tight ends the NFL has to offer.
But through the four years in which he’s been in the league, the health and act of consistently portraying that talent have been issues.
The injuries — he missed 14 games combined from 2017-19 — have been problematic. The drops — 11 in 2020 for a 10.1% drop rate — have been problematic. The drive-killing mistakes — six of the Giants’ 11 interceptions this past season were on passes targeted for Engram — have been problematic.
So with the offseason commencing, the organization has a crucial decision to make regarding Engram’s future with the team. Since the Giants exercised the fifth-year option on his contract last year, he possesses just one more season on his current rookie deal.
So what shall New York do?
Well, the Giants may release him prior to 2021, but that wouldn’t be the most productive decision by a front office that needs to be careful after a fourth consecutive losing campaign.
They might keep him, but would it even be worth it given the struggles that have come with his on-field performances? Wouldn’t it be better for the Giants to acquire someone else in the offseason to man the tight end position?
That leads to the final choice: trading him. And among all other options for this lingering decision, this scenario may be the most effective.
Needless to say, with the injuries, drops, and overall on-field struggles, New York should move on from the 26-year-old and at least attempt to acquire something in return.
Considering his issues, he might not be of the most notable trade value in a deal. However, there’s a chance his (surprising) 2020 Pro Bowl bid could somehow increase that value when negotiations potentially begin.
The possibility of the Giants snagging a third or fourth-round pick for him might be in play. A fifth seems too low, and while Dave Gettleman hasn’t made the greatest of trades before (Markus Golden went for just a sixth-rounder), it’s tough to believe the organization would part ways with Engram for that type of pick.
The Giants value him, and don’t forget, it wasn’t all bad with Engram this past year, so the team could carry some leverage en route to receiving a third or fourth-rounder. Despite the crucial mistakes, Engram was third among NFC tight ends in both receptions (63) and yards (654).
Regardless, the acquired pick should be a selection in this year’s draft. The Giants possess just six picks in 2021 and it’d be in their best interest to acquire additional draft ammo in order to keep building towards the future.
So where may Engram end up when it’s all said and done?
Early teams of interest, based on opinion, could be the Titans, Bears, Seahawks, or Chargers. Of course, it’s still early in the offseason, so that list is definitely subject to alteration and would likely change if Engram finds himself on the trading block. Nonetheless, the team that acquires him would be a probable playoff contender requiring a tight end to fit a piece of the puzzle.
As was previously mentioned, the Giants could then look to the draft or free agency to replace him. Prospective free agents (barring franchise tags) would be Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith and the Chargers’ Hunter Henry, among others. The lead draft prospect would be Florida’s Kyle Pitts if he’s available at No. 11 overall.
Unfortunately, the time has come. What seemed like a great pick back in 2017 has become a draft-related blunder by former Giants general manager Jerry Reese.
Big Blue must part ways with Evan Engram, but do so in a timely manner prior to the 2021 NFL Draft (April 29-May 1).
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