If things had worked out the way they were planned, Russell Shepard would not be a member of the New York Giants right now. With Dave Gettleman still functioning as GM there, Shepard signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Carolina Panthers last season.
Shepard, though, did not have the hoped-for impact in Carolina. He caught just 17 passes for 202 yards (11.9 yards per catch) with 1 touchdown.
Shepard was asked to take a pay cut to stay in Carolina for the 2018 season, refused, got cut and landed in New York with Gettleman and former Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
Let’s take a closer look as we continue our play-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
Position: Wide receiver
2017 season in review
After catching a career-best 23 passes in 2016 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Shepard the aforementioned three-year, $10 million contract with the Panthers. He started only three games, caught only 17 passes in 32 targets and had little impact.
Could Shepard emerge as the Giants’ third wide receiver? Cody Latimer appears to have the inside track on that job, but Shepard, with a few weeks to really digest the playbook, could close the gap when training camp begins.
Shepard excelled as a gunner with the Buccaneers and was a special teams captain, another thing that at the very least gives the 27-year-old a leg up on a roster spot this season.
Unless one of the young receivers on the roster steps up and takes a job away from him, Shepard is probably going to earn one of the reserve wide receiver spots. Given his special teams reputation and playing experience, that should not be considered a bad thing.