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Kadarius Toney trade: Why it had to happen, and what comes next for Giants

Ed offers his thoughts on the Giants’ trade of Kadarius Toney, and the possibility of acquiring Jerry Jeudy

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Big Blue View’s Tony DelGenio tries on Friday morning to assess whether or not the New York Giants got fair value from the Kansas Chiefs in return for Kadarius Toney.

In truth, I’m amazed at what GM Joe Schoen got in return for Toney.

Considering Toney’s lack of availability over 24 games, 12 of which he missed, and the constant questions about his dependability and maturity, I wasn’t sure the Giants were even going to be able to unload Toney. The fact that they got a Day 2 pick — even an extremely late Day 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft — surprised me. Toney’s value apparently had not depreciated as much as I thought.

Former NFL GM Michael Lombardi wasn’t as surprised as I was.

“He has talent. People pay for talent,” Lombardi told me. “Plus, it’s essentially a fourth-rounder.”

True enough.

Problem was, Toney wasn’t healthy enough, mature enough, dependable enough to truly display that talent — with the exception of one game — for the Giants. Even if that game he got ejected for the immature act of taking a swing at an opposing defender.

I always believed, and still do believe, that the Giants did the right thing philosophically when Dave Gettleman made the trade down from No. 11 to No. 20 a year ago — the first trade down he had ever made. The Giants would not have had the opportunity to make two selections in the top 10 of this year’s draft without that move, so at least one of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal would not be on the team. They wouldn’t have Aaron Robinson or Daniel Bellinger. The trade brought them a lot.

The problem was they selected the wrong player at No. 20.

Look at the players chosen between No. 20 and No. 50, where the Giants took Azeez Ojulari, and there are a number of productive players the Giants could have selected. shoot, even taking Ojulari at 20 and Toney at 50 if he was still available would have reduced the sting.

Toney’s time with the Giants was odd from the first day he set foot on a practice field in rookie mini-camp, when an apparent cleat issue left him practicing with one shoe off. He skipped OTAs — something rookies never do — had COVID-19 twice, had a couple of social media incidents, and had hamstring, quad, ankle, oblique and shoulder injuries. He played 10 games.

This year, he skipped the beginning of OTAs, missed the rest of spring practices after having minor knee surgery, suffered three separate hamstring injuries beginning in training camp, played in two games and contributed ZERO yards receiving and 23 yards rushing to the Giants’ offense.

In our poll, 85 percent of voters thought the Giants did the right thing by trading Toney.

Poll

Do you approve of the Giants’ trade of Kadarius Toney?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Yes
    (5301 votes)
  • 15%
    No
    (937 votes)
6238 votes total Vote Now

I do not believe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll would have drafted Toney, but they came to the Giants with an open mind. They gave everyone, including Toney, a clean slate. Players like Oshane Ximines, David Sills and others took advantage of that. Toney did not.

The final straw apparently came this week. Toney, who only recently said he thought he had returned too soon from his last hamstring injury, apparently felt ready to return to practice this week. He apparently objected to being held out of practice Wednesday and asked to remain in New Jersey during the bye week to continue rehabbing his latest injury.

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reported Toney’s unhappiness. Here is part of what he wrote:

It is likely Toney, who has missed the past five games with two separate hamstring injuries, passes his physical in Kansas City. The plan for him with the Giants was to practice on Thursday and, if all went well, perhaps play Sunday in Seattle.

The Giants, though, actually preferred Toney sit out this game and rest up during the following bye week to be healthy for the second half of the season. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday and the Giants were not committed to keeping him around. If he played and re-injured himself, his trade value would be diminished. If he played and was productive, his marketability in a trade would increase. Given his history with the Giants ever since becoming a 2021 first-round pick, the feeling was it was more likely Toney would hurt his trade value.

Toney, according to a source, was not happy that he was held out of practice Wednesday. He believed he was ready to go. The offer from the Chiefs came early Thursday and that was that.

It is believed Daboll’s plan is for the injured players to stay in town during the bye week and continue their rehab at the team facility. If Toney was held out of Sunday’s game he would have been considered an injured player and required to stay — which he would not want to do. There were concerns that Toney, if deemed healthy, would leave the area and compromise some of his conditioning during the bye week, making him more susceptible to injury upon his return. Clearly, Toney did not build up any trust equity with the new coaching staff or front office.

Toney reacted to the trade by tweeting that he was “not hurt,” then apparently deleting that tweet.

Daboll wasn’t biting Friday when asked to comment on Toney’s claim of not being hurt:

In my view, what Toney does in Kansas City — with a great quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and a great offensive coach in Andy Reid — is irrelevant. It wasn’t going to happen with the Giants.

What now?

There is lots of speculation, including here at Big Blue View, about the Giants perhaps using the opening and the cap space created by the Toney deal, to swing a deal for Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

That would work because Jeudy carries only a $1.991 million cap hit this season and is also under contract for 2023. The Giants would get a 23-year-old player who would upgrade their wide receiver talent and be more than a half-season upgrade.

Does Schoen want to part with the draft capital to get that done, or save it and go into the draft where he could find a young receiver or two he could have on full four-year rookie contracts?

I suspect it will end up being the latter, but if the price isn’t exorbitant I wouldn’t blame him for making the move.