How will former Lions fare with new teams in 2021?

Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Kenny Golladay , Detroit Lions (Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kenny Golladay

Position: Wide Receiver
Age: 27
New team: New York Giants
2020 stats with Lions: 5 games played, 20 receptions, 338 yards, 2 touchdowns

As a third-round draft pick in 2017, Golladay rose from relative obscurity out of Northern Illinois University to become one of the best downfield receiving threats in the NFL over four seasons in Detroit. During an injury-plagued 2020 however, it became obvious that he was not in the long-term plans for the Lions, leading to his four-year, $72 million pact with the New York Giants this offseason.

It remains to be seen how much the Lions will miss Golladay over the long haul, though their completely revamped receiving corps will definitely feel his absence in the short term. At his best, he was a physically dominant wideout, capable of making the sort of tough catches that only a handful of other receivers can.

That should be a major benefit for third-year Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who is entering a pivotal season in the Meadowlands. Jones has shown flashes, but he has yet to prove that he is capable of being the Giants’ long-term answer at the position. Golladay should step in immediately as Jones’s number-one pass-catching option.

He’ll compete for targets with veteran wideouts Sterling Shepard, John Ross, and Darius Slayton, though it’s possible that one of those players is moved or cut before the season opener. Throw in explosive first-round rookie receiver Kadarius Toney and dual-threat back Saquan Barkley returning from injury and you have a slew of offensive weapons and zero excuses for Jones.

As always, the key for Golladay will be remaining healthy; he missed a total of 17 games over four years in Detroit. If he’s able to stay on the field, he could be a major factor for the Giants as they seek to take a big step forward in the wide-open NFC East. Should injuries creep up again for the soon-to-be 28-year-old, it could turn into a questionable investment for New York, and a wise decision to move on by the Lions.