Evan Engram has long been a lightning rod for New York Giants fans frustrated by far too much losing. Since being chosen in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram has at times tantalized with physical gifts few tight ends possess. He has, though, frustrated far too often with devastating mistakes on what seemed like the simplest of plays.
After five seasons of never seeming to become what then-GM Jerry Reese and three coaching staffs thought he might, Engram’s time is New York might be done. He heads to free agency at a time the Giants are starting again, and will have little to no cap space.
Age: 28 when season starts
2021 salary cap hit: $6.013 million
Making the case
It’s not like Engram has been a terrible player for the Giants. He has the sixth-most catches (262) by a tight end over the last five seasons and the eighth-most yards receiving (2,828). His, though, only 16th over that time span in receiving touchdowns with 16.
There are two other areas where Engram’s production has paled in comparison to the league’s best tight ends — drop percentage and contested catch rate.
Engram has dropped 10 percent of the passes thrown to him during his career. Among George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz and Darren Waller, Andrews’ drop rate of 7.3 percent is the highest.
Quarterbacks need tight ends to make contested catches in short areas of the field. During his career, Engram has made just 34.3 percent of his contested catch situations. Waller has caught 56.7 percent, Ertz 53.3 percent, Kelce 52.3 percent, Kittle 48.2 percent and Andrews 44.3 percent. So, Engram lags far behind in this category.
There is a bit of curiosity about what Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka could do with a player who has Engram’s physical skills. Still, the Giants are starting over. Engram could probably use a fresh start elsewhere as much, maybe more, than any Giant.
Spotrac estimates his market value at four years, $27.015 million ($6.7 million per year). The Giants should let someone else pay it.