Remember Kenny Golladay’s world tour? Few events have ever summed up the folly of NFL free agency. B-plus players continually have A-plus money thrown at them because teams are often shopping desperate. Especially when you inexplicably gave Dave Gettleman one more year to drive your franchise into the ground further.
Golladay had caught 11 touchdowns in a season in 2019 (never mind he missed 11 games in 2020). So he got to spend a week making free agent visits like he was LeBron James, and his journey ended with a four-year, $72 million deal with the Giants. That seemed like an overpay then. It is a complete catastrophe now.
Which brings us to Sunday. Golladay wrapped up an uninspiring preseason by doing absolutely nothing in the Snoopy Bowl (except whiffing on a block). He had 51 snaps in the preseason. He got four targets and finished with one catch for six yards. Two of the other three targets were shaky at best in the opener against the Patriots. And when head coach Brian Daboll was asked if Golladay’s roster spot was in jeopardy, he seemingly went out of his way to muddy the waters. Daboll refused to say Golladay was safe (although he did backtrack a bit when pressed) and threw out buzzwords like “competed” and “he had a good camp.”
It is highly unlikely general manager Joe Schoen will cut Golladay. His salary cap hit would actually increase by $4.25 million if he was released. They certainly can’t trade him. And even though Golladay has been a colossal disappointment, someone has to play receiver for the Giants. Darius Slayton is about to get cut, Collin Johnson is out for the season and you cannot rely on Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney to stay healthy (again, there is a reason Daniel Jones is almost assuredly hopeless).
That said: The Giants recoup a little over half of the potential Golladay tax by cutting Slayton. And they could always get creative with restructures to figure out the rest. It’s not like Golladay’s release would slap an extra $10 million on the cap. There would be ways if there was a will. And maybe there could (should?) be one. The Giants are going to be bad again this year. But they don’t have to be an embarrassment like they were last season. Dragging Golladay around increases the odds of that repeating though.
It’s not going to happen. The Giants will just gradually phase Golladay out (if he even stays healthy) and then cut him in the offseason when the cap math makes much more sense. But if Daboll and Schoen want to make a real statement about who is in charge, this could be it. There would be some considerable financial complication and pain. But it may be worth it. Anyone with sense realizes Golladay is not going to hack it here. And that he never should have been given that contract in the first place.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]