Darius Slayton didn’t hold any grudges with the Giants for the way last season started. He was buried on the depth chart, took a pay cut in order to remain with the team, and didn’t start a game until Week 6.
In the end, he was the Giants’ No. 1 receiver due to a number of injuries and other pitfalls, and he took full advantage of it. But it would have been easy to understand if Slayton harbored some anger about it, but instead, he looked inward.
“I just think in general in life I try not to bring emotion into things that aren’t emotional,” Slayton said during a Zoom news conference on Monday. “Football is not emotional. Either you go out there and you make plays and the people that make the decisions play the people that make plays or you don’t. At the end of the day when it comes to football or anything like that I tend to point the thumb and not the finger and look at what I can do better.
“What have I done to put myself in whatever situation? Sometimes in life, you do everything you’re supposed to do and end up getting screwed over, but I’d be lying if I didn’t somewhat contribute to my situation last year. At the end of the day, I have to take responsibility for that and do better.”
Slayton obviously turned the corner last year, finishing with 46 receptions, a team-high 724 yards, and two touchdowns. He did hit the open market but ultimately ended up returning to the Giants on a new two-year, $12 million contract.
Slayton called the free-agent process a “weird process” and said that he had multiple teams that were interested in signing him. Among those teams that showed interest had been the Atlanta Falcons, which could have been perceived to have an advantage with Slayton being from Georgia while signing one of his best friends, Micah Abernathy.
Slayton said that the Giants’ ability to lock up Daniel Jones and the familiarity with the team gave the edge to New York in the end. And after the Giants took such a big step last season, he didn’t want to miss out on what was to come.
“It would have been kind of crazy to leave after building up all these bricks and then as soon as we get the thing built to just jump off the top,” said Slayton, who the Giants drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. “It would have been kind of crazy. But I definitely wanted to stick around and be at the top and take in the view myself. I think just some of the guys we’ve been able to sign and go get are a testament to what we’ve been able to build here.”
Among the Giants’ offseason additions was the signing of Parris Campbell and trading for Darren Weller to help bolster the receiver group.
The Giants have worked to get help for Jones this upcoming season after they signed the quarterback to a new four-year deal, which Slayton said he was happy to see Jones get. And the receiver is looking forward to having Jones be the one to throw to him next season.
“That was obviously a huge plus for me coming back here was getting him back,” Slayton said.