The Giants are the place to be for No. 3 and/or injury-prone wide receivers.
Jamison Crowder is the newest name. The veteran signed with Big Blue on Thursday after missing 13 games last season with the Bills. And he has not played more than 12 games since 2019, when he was with the Jets.
Crowder, 30 in Week 1, joins new acquisitions Parris Campbell (34 games missed in his career) and Jeff Smith (34 career catches). The Giants have also re-signed Sterling Shepard (33 games missed in the last four seasons) and Darius Slayton (who the Giants tried to get rid of myriad times).
There is nothing wrong with any of these low-risk, little-guaranteed money depth moves. But they all make one thing very clear: Darren Waller must healthy and produce at a Pro Bowl level next season. Otherwise the Giants — and Daniel Jones — are in a lot of trouble.
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Yes, general manager Joe Schoen could swing a big trade. But his methodical rebuild plan likely does not mesh with an aggressive move for a guy like DeAndre Hopkins. And yes, Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll could look to get Jones a true No. 1 receiver with the 25th-overall pick in April’s NFL draft. But first-round wideouts have been a complete crapshoot in recent years. You might get JaMarr Chase. Or you might get Corey Coleman. It is a position the league has struggled to evaluate, for whatever reason.
Which brings us back to Waller. The Giants clearly plan for him to be Jones’ top weapon in 2023. And he certainly has the capability to be that. But he will also turn 31 in September and has missed 14 games over the last two seasons. The Raiders are not exactly a model of front office genius. But you still have to wonder after they gave him away for a song.
If Waller returns to form and stays on the field, the Giants and Jones have a chance to keep ascending. But if he does not? It is yet another reason why there is a strong chance for regression — at least from a team standpoint — in 2023.
Again, all of Schoen’s wideout moves are fine. But you cannot depth your way out of the offensive issues the Giants have faced for years. At some point you need a playmaker or two. Waller can be that. And he had better be if you are Schoen. And Daboll and Jones.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.