Darius Slayton
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have a glaring issue at wide receiver. That has been the case for years, with no true No. 1 since Odell Beckham Jr.

General manager Joe Schoen inherited this issue. He has done his best to fix it. And he has made some good moves this offseason, like retaining Isaiah Hodgins and signing Parris Campbell (63 catches, 623 yards with the Colts last year) to a one-year, $3 million contract. He also sent Kenny Golladay packing, releasing the veteran receiver to save $6.7 million in cap space (with a $14.7 million dead cap charge). Schoen additionally traded for talented pass-catching tight end Darren Waller, flipping the No. 100 overall pick the Giants got from the Chiefs for Kadarius Toney.

But it has not been all positive in our eyes. We cannot understand why Schoen has also brought back Sterling Shepard (10 games played in the last two years) and now Darius Slayton, who adds to the growing collection of No. 3 receivers.

The Giants had a decent amount of cap space entering free agency. Not an overflowing war chest after extending Daniel Jones and franchise tagging Saquon Barkley. But enough.

What Schoen did. So Schoen spends $1.3 million on Shepard and re-signs Slayton to a two-year, $12 million deal that includes nearly $5 million guaranteed.

It’s not a whopping amount of space being dealt to two replaceable wideouts. Still, the Giants need to take this position group as seriously as ever. The lack of talent within the group is what held the team back on various occasions last season. It’s one of the reasons why there was, and still is, a significant gap between the Giants and other NFC teams like the Eagles and 49ers.

And Schoen, for whatever reason, is wasting cap space and roster spots on two guys who don’t provide notable on-field value whatsoever.

The Giants weren’t going to land a legitimate No. 1 receiver, even if they had the necessary funds. They always needed to bank on low-risk, potentially high-reward guys to develop with Jones and head coach Brian Daboll. Bringing back two underwhelming receivers certainly comes with risks though, especially when the Giants need to vastly improve their 18th-ranked passing offense from last season.

What Schoen should’ve done. There were various other routes the general manager could’ve taken to address this roster problem.

No, Schoen shouldn’t have given up even more cap space for a guy like Jakobi Meyers, who signed for $11 million annually with the Raiders. No, Schoen shouldn’t have dished out possibly even more money for Beckham.

But what he could’ve done is retained Richie James for cheaper than he did Slayton. James (57 catches, four touchdowns last year) was more productive than Slayton in various categories (46 catches, two touchdowns). And he did this in less playing time — James was on the field for 46% of the offensive snaps while Slayton earned 65% of the snaps. James also returns punts, having averaged 7.3 yards on 24 returns last season.

If Campbell is getting a one-year, $3 million deal, the Giants could’ve retained James for around $2 million. That’s a much better AAV than Slayton’s $6 million. Schoen could’ve also found a younger, cheaper option in the later rounds of the draft. The team has 10 total draft picks, including six in the final three rounds. And don’t rule out Schoen trading back at any point to garner at least another selection.

The Giants have the resources to make a tremendous value pick and draft a receiver on Day 3. One who would be much cheaper than Slayton and potentially a better fit.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.