Should the Giants have concerns with Tate, Shepard and Engram?

By Michael Stewart/@golferbad

Introduction: On paper, the New York Giants have a talented group of receivers that should provide enough production if they all can remain reasonably healthy. However; should the Giants be concern? Especially with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Ingram. Keep in mind that each one has a red flag attached to them as we enter the 2020 season.

The failure to draft a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL draft; which was arguably the deepest in recent years could haunt the Giants. Although they did address the wide receiver position during the UDFA signing phase with the selection of four if you count Rysen John who will attempt to transition over to Tight End. So with that being said, let’s analyze each player more closely:

  • Golden Tate: After serving the first four games of the season for testing for PED and one game due to a concussion. Tate returned and put together a solid season for the Giants with 49 receptions for 676 yards and six touchdowns.  However; Tate is on the other side of 30 years old (32 years old after the 2020 season) and although that’s a prime age for everyday people, it’s not in football. Should we aspect a repeat performance from Tate in 2020 or could we see a decline? It’s been highly speculated that 2020 season will be Tate’s last season with Giants mostly due to cap space.
  • Sterling Shepard: The Giants invested a sizable multi-year contract to him (4 years/$41M); which included a guaranteed $21.3M. Since signing that deal, Shepard has had two concussions and could be one big hit away from retirement. The concussion concerns make Shepard nearly impossible to trade if the Giants wanted to take that route and releasing him after the 2020 would create only $3M of cap space and a whopping $6M of dead money.
  • Evan Engram: Engram has been the most frustrating Giant to root for and in all honesty to expect a turnaround. Since being drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 draft, Engram has shown small samples of what many Giant fans had expected. Unfortunately; Engram just hasn’t been to stay on the field as injuries have been his nemesis thus far. Although the Giants have picked up with a 5th-year option, it seems obvious to me that Engram must be that playmaking tight end that the Giants organization had envisioned and with new Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett on board, we should see Engram’s role change somewhat; especially where he lines up on the field.
  • I would expect Garrett will utilize Engram more away from the line of scrimmage for two reasons. The first reason is to keep him healthy and have a lesser role in blocking defensive linemen and linebackers. The second reason is that Engram is more productive in open space, so despite Engram being labeled a tight end, expect him to line up more in the slot or at times on the outside like a wide receiver. If Engram doesn’t so production and/or stay healthy enough to contribute, this could be his last season as a Giant.  

Final Thoughts: The 2021 NFL draft is projected to be even more talented than the 2020 draft and although the tight end position isn’t as deep, there are some talented tight ends in the 2021 draft that could interest the Giants on days 2 and 3. So there is a slight possibility that all three players will not be with the team in 2021. If so, the focus to find their replacements needs to be one of the team’s top priorities after the 2020 season. The impact from COVID-19 will have an effect on the cap space with every team, so if the Giants look to free agency for a wide receiver; expect them to shop for the low to mid tier talent and not the elite group that could be available. More than likely the Giants will look at their young group of wide-outs and tight ends currently on the roster and on the practice square along with the 2021 draft.

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