Kenny Golladay emerges as Giants’ top free-agent option

Kenny Golladay Giants
Kenny Golladay
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s market earlier this week helped the New York Giants dictate just who their top free-agent targets might be — and all signs are pointing to Kenny Golladay. 

Following last season’s surprising contending run for the lackluster NFC East crown, amongst the Giants’ largest voids was the lack of an outside playmaker needed to properly equip franchise quarterback Daniel Jones with. 

While their defense was resurgent, the passing offense was one of the worst units in football. They passed for the fourth-fewest yards, were tied for the fewest touchdowns, and their net yards gained per pass attempt at just 5.3 yards was the third-worst in the league. 

Jones’ development is still very much in question as the status of an offensive line that still has yet to be built into a strong unit nearly four years into Dave Gettleman’s reign as general manager. But that bona fide big-play wide-receiving option would bring another dimension to a Giants offense that will have Saquon Barkley healthy and a complement of receivers headlined by Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. 

The NFL’s franchise-tag deadline on Tuesday evening helped dictate the Giants’ course of who those targets might be. Speculation swirled that the Chicago Bears’ Allen Robinson, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Chris Godwin, and Golladay of the Detroit Lions might not have tags extended to them. 

Godwin and Robinson, however, did — leaving Golladay as the obvious option for the Giants to pursue.

The 27-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday when the new league year begins with ESPN’s Jordan Raanan adding that there will be a “strong possibility” that the Giants will be involved. 

Golladay will be preparing for his fifth NFL season off the heels of a 2020 in which he appeared in only five games because of hip and hamstring injuries. From 2018-2019, he posted 135 receptions for 2,235 yards, and 16 touchdowns — including a league-leading 11 in 2019. 

His average yards per reception of 16.7 also ranked second among all NFL wide receivers who had at least 50 receptions during that stretch. The highest-ranked Giant on that list is Sterling Shepard, whose 13.21 yards per reception ranked 42nd. 

Needless to say, the need for Golladay is crystal clear for Big Blue as long as he fits the mold for head coach Joe Judge.

“I’m always a long-term-picture guy. You have success by continuously building your team through the draft, by developing your players, by adding the right players in free agency,” he said. “The one thing to keep in mind as we go through this free agency point of the year — and, look, it’s very exciting and there’s a lot of press and media and it’s all over TV — but the reality is it’s not fantasy football. You can’t just grab a player, put him on your team, and think everything’s going to work out.

“It has to be the right fit for your team going forward and that’s a fit culturally and a fit schematically, and it’s got to go both ways.”