Concern over the availability of Richie James, who is in concussion protocol, for Sunday night’s must-win game against the Washington Commanders has prompted the New York Giants to sign wide receiver/kick returner Jaydon Mickens to their practice squad.
James leads all Giants wide receivers with 38 receptions. He has also been the team’s punt returner this season, except for the short period of time during which he was replaced by Adoree’ Jackson. James has returned 22 punts this season for 154 yards, an average of 6.7 yards per return.
In five NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 28-year-old former undrafted free agent has returned 69 punts for an average of 8.4 yards and 35 kickoffs for an average of 23.2 yards. Gary Brightwell is averaging 20.2 yards per kickoff return for the Giants this season.
As a receiver, Mickens has only 15 career catches.
The Giants, per Art Stapleton of The Record, also worked out running back Kenjon Barner and wide receiver Chester Rogers on Tuesday as return options.
The Giants do have rookie wide receiver/kick returner Kalil Pimpleton on the practice squad, but if James is not cleared for Sunday’s game would likely elevate Mickens because of his NFL experience. Mickens was part of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning team two seasons ago.
The Giants once again dropped offensive lineman Roy Mbaeteka from the practice squad to clear a spot for Mickens.