Kenny Golladay is on his way back.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll revealed Tuesday the $72 million wide receiver, who’s had a disastrous year and a half in East Rutherford, should be ready to play against the Texans this Sunday. Golladay hasn’t suited up since Week 4 due to a knee injury.
Much of the fanbase is past the point of caring for Golladay and his horrendous contract. Many are counting down the days until the Giants inevitably cut the veteran this offseason and eat up the 2023 dead cap charge of $14.7 million.
Regardless, Golladay should be returning against Houston, whether the fans give a damn or not. And there’s a chance he could at least somewhat produce for one of the first times all season.
Depleted WR room. No, Golladay didn’t see a big role during Weeks 1-4 (when he was healthy). He played just 37% of the offensive snaps during those four games. Against Carolina in Week 2, he was on the field for just two total offensive snaps.
Talk about WR1 money for a WR4-type role.
But things are different now: Sterling Shepard tore his ACL in Week 3, the Giants traded Kadarius Toney to Kansas City, and now Richie James is dealing with a concussion. This has left the team with Darius Slayton, rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, David Sills, and Marcus Johnson.
If the Giants don’t trust Golladay more than Sills and Johnson, they should just pay him to stay home for the rest of the year.
Given the circumstances at the position, Golladay should see the field alongside Slayton and Robinson this Sunday.
Houston has a problem. The Texans sport one of the worst run defenses in the NFL heading into Week 10. Houston is allowing 180.6 rushing yards per game (worst) and 5.5 yards per carry (tied with the Giants for second-worst).
It’s thus fair to assume head coach Brian Daboll will look to heavily involve running back Saquon Barkley. But the Giants will still need to take advantage of the play-action opportunities to hit on the big play, something they haven’t done much of in 2022.
That’s where Golladay comes in — he could be a down-field threat (as can Slayton) against a Houston secondary allowing 217.5 passing yards per game (19th in the NFL).
Any sort of chemistry with Golladay would also benefit quarterback Daniel Jones, who’s been limited through the air due to the lack of receiver talent.
Golladay’s future. If Golladay somehow makes a legitimate, consistent impact through the final nine games of the year and potentially the playoffs, it’s interesting to think what the Giants would do with him after the season.
Realistically, Golladay would either return on a restructured contract or the Giants would attempt to use his second-half performances as leverage in a trade. But there’s still no guarantee any team would want to trade for a guy with a lengthy injury history and $21.4 million cap hits each of the next two years.
It’s tough to imagine a world in which he’s consistently productive throughout the rest of the season though. He may make some plays here and there, like he has a chance to do this Sunday. But at the end of the day, Golladay is still injury-prone, isn’t the best offensive fit, and isn’t a product of this current regime. So the odds of him remaining with the team past this year are still stacked against him.