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The Giants could target Kenny Golladay in free agency barring a decision by the Lions to franchise tag him. What would his role be?

Ryan Honey

The NFL doesn’t possess too many “dead” time periods throughout the year. Sure, the Super Bowl has occurred and we can put the pandemic-impacted 2020 season behind us, but in just a few short weeks, the new league year will commence, which means pending free agents will find a new team or re-sign with their current employer.

Despite the fact they don’t own too much cap space at the moment (just a little over $5 million), the Giants will need to make moves — some of which must be on the offensive side of the ball. New York is coming off a year in which it finished 31st in both total offense and scoring, having implemented an uncreative offense run by coordinator Jason Garrett.

The Giants seemingly have their quarterback of the future — at least they hope — along with an offensive line that developed over the course of last season. The injury-prone Saquon Barkley hopes to remain healthy as well and the No. 11 overall draft pick may be used on an offensive weapon — a wide receiver or tight end.

But that doesn’t mean the Giants can’t keep adding skill players via the market, and barring a franchise tag by the Detroit Lions, there’s a chance wideout Kenny Golladay could be part of an acquisition by Big Blue.

So what would the veteran’s role be if he did indeed find himself in East Rutherford?

Well, the Giants don’t exactly employ a true No. 1 wideout — that’s obvious. Golden Tate might be on his way out; he’s simply been a headache for the organization and his play isn’t superb enough to make up for it.

Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are nice players but not No. 1 receivers, and that’s fine, but not so much when you don’t possess a top target. This receiving corps doesn’t overwhelm opposing secondaries, and that’s a huge issue when you’re trying to develop a young quarterback like Daniel Jones because it means there are no overly talented options in the passing game.

Acquiring Golladay would mean bringing someone in who would be at the top of the depth chart. No, he’s not the most talented receiver in the game today, but he’s certainly capable of taking on a crucial No. 1 wideout role the Giants must absolutely fill ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Golladay portrays elements of both Shepard and Slayton, in a sense that he can be that reliable possession receiver like the former but additionally possess a knack for the end zone like the latter. The four-year player has averaged nearly four receptions per game throughout his career and notched 70 and 65 receptions in 2018 and 2019, recording over 1,000 yards through the air during either campaign. As far as crossing the goal line is concerned, Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions during his 2019 Pro Bowl campaign.

Golladay is also decent following the reception, having averaged 4.9 yards after the catch during that 2019 season — a mark that put him in the top half of the league in that category. For comparison, Tate, a so-called “YAC King,” averaged 6.1 yards after the catch in 2019.

One downside to Golladay’s game, however, is that he’s not all too consistent when it comes to gaining significant separation from his defender. In 2019, he averaged just 1.9 yards of separation.

If the Giants could pick him up at the right price (which may occur since he only played five games last year), Golladay would be great for a hopefully-improving offense and beneficial for the development of Jones. He sports elements of all three of the Giants’ current starting receivers but would easily be the No. 1 wideout, something this struggling unit desires.

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