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Kenny Golladay signing: Giants sign Golladay to 4-year, $72 million contract

Generally considered the best wide receiver in free agency, Kenny Golladay joins the Giants

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions
Kenny Golladay
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The long pursuit is finally over. The New York Giants are signing Kenny Golladay, the top wide receiver on the free agent market, per published reports.

Josina Anderson of ESPN is reporting that the Giants and Golladay have come to an agreement.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirmed Anderson’s reporting, adding that the contract is 4-years, $72 million, with $40 million fully guaranteed.

After a free agent visit that began Thursday night and went through most of Friday, then contract negotiations that lasted into Saturday, the Giants and Golladay have decided they are a match.

The Giants entered the offseason knowing they needed to upgrade their wide receiving corps after their offense finished 31st in the NFL last season.

“Every team needs playmakers, let’s be honest,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said recently during a pre-free agency videoconference. “Good Lord willing, Saquon [Barkley] will be 100 percent and obviously he’ll make a huge difference. A healthy Saquon obviously makes a big difference, but, again, you’re always looking to add good players.”

The Giants reportedly had to fight off last-minute challenges from the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens to sign Golladay.

Golladay, on paper, gives the Giants a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

A 6-foot-4, 214-pound 27-year-old, Golladay had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons for the Detroit Lions in 2018 and 2019, making the Pro Bowl in 2019. Golladay has 183 receptions and 21 touchdowns in 47 games since the Lions selected him in Round 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft. He averages 16.8 yards per catch for his career.

Golladay is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he played only five games and caught 20 passes.

The Giants cut veteran wide receiver Golden Tate before free agency, then added speedster John Ross to their receiving group.

The view from Detroit

Jeremy Reisman of SB Nation’s Lions website, Pride of Detroit, offered this on the Giants’ signing of Golladay:

“In Kenny Golladay, the New York Giants are getting a playmaker first and foremost. He’s a safety blanket of sorts, in that if Daniel Jones wants to take a shot downfield, Golladay is one of the best jump-ball receivers in the league. I’m sure you all have seen the ridiculous contested catch rate statistics already (If you haven’t, click here or here), but if you want to see what that actually looks like in action, throw on his film from the 2020 Atlanta Falcons game.”

[That’s below]

“I truly believe he was on his way to becoming a top-10 receiver before injuries derailed his 2020 season. Personally, I’m not ready to slap the “injury prone” label on him, but it is a moderate concern. He still needs to work on polishing his routes, and he wins more with his physicality than his speed, but he has enough athleticism to win with both.

“As far as a person, Golladay is an extremely quiet guy who won’t give you much of a quote in front of a podium. He, instead, lets his play do the talking and puts in the necessary work throughout the week.”

Valentine’s View

The Golladay signing is the crowning achievement of what started slowly and perhaps somewhat bafflingly, but ended as a well executed week that should make the Giants an improved football team.

The Giants obviously saw what pretty much everyone else also saw — that they needed a big-time receiver to help quarterback Daniel Jones and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett inject some life into an offense that ranked 31st in the league in 2020.

The hope is, of course, that Golladay can do for Jones and the Giants what Stefon Diggs did in 2020 for third-year quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Diggs starred with career bests in receptions (127) and yards receiving (1,535) as Allen had his best year and the Bills won the AFC East.

The Giants are hoping Golladay will help Jones take an Allen-esque Year 3 leap.

I like the fact that the Giants identified their biggest need, then aggressively went out and did something about it. They didn’t wait and hope they could find their guy in the draft, though I would still be fine if they added even more talent at receiver when the draft finally rolls around. They also didn’t try to fill that need by throwing mid-level talent or guys who might become No. 1 targets at it. They went out and got the player acknowledged as the best one on the market.

I also like the fact that Giants didn’t just drop a blank check at Golladay’s feet the moment the free agency negotiating window opened on Monday. There were physical and organizational fit questions about Golladay. The Giants gauged the market correctly, saw that they could do their due diligence by bringing the player into East Rutherford, N.J. for a visit, were satisfied by what they learned about the young man and made their move.

Credit also to Golladay. He had other suitors, but he wanted the Giants enough that he went through the drawn-out visit to help make the deal happen.

The Giants did lose Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency and were forced to cut quality veteran guard Kevin Zeitler. Due to the realities of a deflated salary cap, those losses were not surprising.

We can quibble with things like the signing of running back Devontae Booker at a price tag I don’t understand, or with restructuring rather than just cutting veteran tight end Levine Toilolo.

All-in-all, though, it’s hard not to see that the Giants had a plan and executed it.

That plan? Get Leonard Williams signed long-term, add a big-time wide receiver and make some targeted low-cost, low-risk signings to fill out depth or play specific roles in 2021. They have accomplished all of those things.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph is an excellent fit for a Jason Garrett offense, and should help both Daniel Jones and the running game. John Ross and Ifeadi Odenigbo are low-risk, low-cost, high-upside one-year fliers. Mike Glennon was signed instead of Colt McCoy for a reason. Linebacker Reggie Ragland has an Alabama connection, so the Giants likely researched him extensively.

We’ll see how it all plays out on the field beginning in September, but today feels like a good day to be a Giants fan.

Happy Golladay Day!


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