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Cody Latimer reportedly to be activated by Giants — what does it mean?

Wide receiver could be brought off IR for final two games

NFL: New York Giants at New York Jets
Cody Latimer
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will reportedly activate wide receiver Cody Latimer from injured reserve next week, putting him on the 53-man roster for the final two games of the regular season.

Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Latimer played in four games for the Giants earlier this season, catching six passes for 108 yards and averaging 22.3 yards on four kickoff returns. He was placed on IR with a hamstring injury.

Latimer told me when the Giants designated him to return at the end of the November that his hamstring injury had been a “bad one” but that he had been “putting in a lot of work and time to get back right as quick as I can.”

Why does this make sense?

The other veteran player the Giants designated for return, running back Jonathan Stewart, saw his deadline to be activated come and go. He will remain on IR for the rest of the season.

Why would the Giants, who appear to currently have a full and productive group of wide receivers, be planning to bring Latimer back for the final two games?

After missing three months, and with players like Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Bennie Fowler and Jawill Davis all finding ways to contribute, it’s unlikely at this point that the Giants believe Latimer can immediately be more productive than those players.

This, in my view, is about the messaging.

Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman have talked incessantly about changing the culture around the Giants. On WFAN this week, Shurmur told Mike Francesa that after a year of incredible turnover he believes most of the players on the current roster will return next season.

In my view, bringing Latimer back to the active roster is about those things.

It is about telling the locker room that when you work hard and do your job the right way, as Latimer apparently has in getting himself healthy before the season has concluded, that you get rewarded. That is sort of the same reason for giving Sterling Shepard a game ball for his blocking.

It may also be the Giants sending a message to Latimer, who signed only a one-year contract with the Giants. Whereas Stewart likely has no future with the Giants, this could be the Giants telling Latimer they want him as part of their 2019 team.