Let’s think for a minute about what type of wide receiver the New York Giants might be looking for on the free-agent market next month.
A guy with size to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. A player who who is fairly young and should still have some upside, but has had some success in the league. A player who probably won’t require a huge financial commitment. A player with something to prove.
Kamar Aiken, a five-year veteran who spent the last three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, checks all of those boxes. Aiken is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He will turn 28 at the end of May. Aiken had a 75-catch, five-touchdown season for the Ravens in 2015. He also has much to prove after the Ravens pushed him down the depth chart in 2016 and he caught only 29 passes.
In a conversation with the Ravens official team web site at the end of the season, Aiken did not sound like a player who wanted to stay in Baltimore:
“Frustrating. Very frustrating,” Aiken said. “Probably the most frustrating year I’ve had since I’ve been in the league.”
Aiken signed a second-round restricted free-agent tender last offseason, showing the value the team placed in the former journeyman. Now he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this March.
Aiken was asked whether his frustration from this season would affect his free agency decision.
“Yes, I would say it would,” he said. “I’m open. This will be the first time in my career to hit the market and see what it is. I’m happy and I’m looking forward to it.”
Aiken was Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver in 2015, but was an after-thought in 2016. He entered the NFL with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2011, and spent 2012 with the New England Patriots. He didn’t catch a pass until snagging 24 with the Ravens in 2014. SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown did not have complementary things to say about Aiken’s play last season.
Aiken could be a fairly low-cost, low-risk option to add competition to the group the Giants already have as they look for more production that they got from Victor Cruz as the third wide receiver last season. ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan recently speculated that Aiken could be a fit for the Giants.
Spotrac’s Market Value Tool estimates that Aiken could receive a four-year, $30.2 million contract on the free agent market. That is roughly $7.5 million annually. That is slightly more in terms of annual value than the five-year, $32.5 million contract Mohamed Sanu got from the Atlanta Falcons last offseason.
Coming off the type of season he just had, though, you have to think that price tag might be a bit exorbitant. He made $2.5 million last season and it’s hard to believe he would get a lot more than that as an annual salary.
There are, of course, other more high-profile options who should be on the market. A player like Aiken, though, might be worth a look.
Your thoughts, Giants fans?