Evan Engram is likely heading out the New York Giants’ door in free agency. Kyle Rudolph is pretty certain to be a salary cap cut. Kaden Smith has a knee issue that leaves his availability in doubt.
Someone, though, has to play tight end for the Giants in 2022. Is veteran Levine Toilolo, who missed the 2021 season with a torn Achilles tendon, a candidate for one of the tight end spots on the 2022 53-man roster?
Position: Tight end
2021 salary cap hit: $1.6 million
Making the case
A blocking tight end and special teams player, Toilolo had only seven receptions in 2019 and 2020 with the San Francisco 49ers and Giants. He has no obvious connection to head coach Brian Daboll or most of the Giants staff.
Bringing Toilolo back would seem an unlikely, short-term fix as the Giants remake the tight end position. Toilolo, though, could have one advocate on the coaching staff.
Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey is being held over from the Joe Judge era, and McGaughey had this to say last August when Toilolo was injured:
“Levine is a great man and shows up every day ready to work. The leadership he provides, being that quiet leadership, guys follow him by example, him working his tail off every day and just his presence in the room. When you lose a guy, it’s hard to replace the leadership part of it, but he’s a great man. He works his tail off. He’ll get back. Once he’s healthy, he’ll get back. He’s a good man.”
Even if McGaughey supports him, it seems doubtful the Giants would bring him back. There is little upside, even on a veteran minimum contract, to bring back a player who contributes little on offense and is coming off a major injury.