The Giants have acquired a new No. 1 wide receiver, agreeing to a four-year, $72 million deal with Kenny Golladay.
It’s possible (and very much okay) to criticize Giants general manager Dave Gettleman for his head-scratching moves and also praise him for his great ones. You can do that; there’s no law against it, contrary to the seemingly popular belief that there is.
Sure, the singings of multiple older individuals who were on their way to retirement and not as reliable as they once were, such as Golden Tate, Antoine Bethea, Jonathan Stewart, and Alec Ogletree, were questionable. But those moves are in the past; the NFL is very much a “what have you done for me lately” type of business.
The recent moves Gettleman has made have put the organization in the right direction, the latest one being the acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
On Saturday, the Giants agreed to a four-year, $74 million deal ($40 million guaranteed) with the guy who’ll be the team’s new No. 1 receiver.
The move adds great talent to an offensive unit and receiving corps that both need it. But from a broader perspective, it solidifies a successful 2021 free agency period for the Giants.
The organization’s top two priorities during this crucial period were to acquire a No. 1 receiver and re-sign star defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who led the Giants in both sacks (11.5) and quarterback hits (30) last year.
You could go back and forth on which priority was more important, but the bottom line is that Gettleman needed to cross off each move on the ever-crucial to-do list.
Earlier this week, the Giants finally got a deal done with Williams. They franchise tagged him earlier in the offseason, but it was known the tag placement was going to be a placeholder to eventually sign him to a long-term deal; it just wasn’t known when that deal would be closed.
Williams ultimately agreed to a three-year, $63 million contract ($45 million guaranteed) that makes him one of the highest-paid in the league at his position. His $21 million average annual salary ties him for second in the NFL among interior defensive lineman with Indianapolis’ DeForest Buckner. The $45 million in guaranteed money is second within that position group behind Rams superstar Aaron Donald (a whopping $86.9 million guaranteed).
It’s a significant dollar value for Williams, but talent is expensive in this league. The Giants knew they would need to break the bank to keep him for years to come, so that’s what they did. The contract also allows Williams to hit the market again when he’s 29 years old — obviously on the right side of 30.
Thus, one of the aforementioned major goals has been achieved for a few days now, with the other one being accomplished this weekend.
Golladay is a versatile receiver who has a knack for the end zone (league-leading 11 touchdown receptions in 2019) and can additionally make the tough catches in traffic. Per Next Gen Stats, the then-Detroit Lion recorded a 56.03% catch rate with an average of 1.9 yards of separation in 2019.
He has an ability to fulfill the role of No. 1 wide receiver that Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton simply don’t. The acquisition will additionally assist in the development of quarterback Daniel Jones, who the organization is banking on improving in his third NFL season later this year.
Jones needed a top target, and since he currently possesses one, there are no excuses for the young signal-caller. He must shine in 2021 and prove he’s the Giants’ long-term answer at the quarterback position.
Now, after this highly productive free agency period, the team needs to win games. There’s more talent on the offensive side of the ball, the major aspects of the coaching staff are in place (despite the inconsistencies of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett) for the second consecutive year, and the defensive unit is expected to play at a high level just like it did last year.
Losing Dalvin Tomlinson to Minnesota is tough, but the Giants definitely favored a Williams re-signing. Retaining Tomlinson likely would’ve taken the Giants out of the running for a weapon like Golladay.
Gettleman’s decisions in 2018 and 2019 were questionable and didn’t improve the team. Some of his moves in 2020 and 2021 (the former year including the acquisitions of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Logan Ryan), however, have been excellent, and in a “what have you done for me lately” business, that’s great for the direction of the team.