The New York Giants are a surprise 2-0 team, but former Lion Kenny Golladay has not been a factor and he appears to be on the outs in New York.
The New York Giants are the most surprising 2-0 team in the NFL, doing just enough to beat the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers in their first two games. But a high-priced free agent signing from last offseason, former Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay, has not been a factor.
As last season went on and Golladay did not deliver, it was clear the Lions dodged a big mistake by not even franchise tagging him. In 14 games last season for the Giants, he had 37 receptions for 521 yards and zero touchdowns. Giants’ left tackle Andrew Thomas had a touchdown catch last year, outscoring the team’s prized free agent signing.
It couldn’t get any worse this year, right? Right?
Former Lion Kenny Golladay seems to be on the outs with the Giants
Golladay had two catches for 22 yards against the Titans in Week 1, as he played 77 percent of the Giants’ offensive snaps (46). On Sunday against the Panthers, he played just two snaps. David Sills led Giants wide receivers in snaps in the game, and even Richie James was more involved again (28 snaps Sunday, 10 catches over the first games). Kadarius Toney also had a larger role than he did in Week 1.
Via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, head coach Brian Daboll explained Golladay’s lack of usage.
"It’s a continual competition at receiver,” Daboll said, “We are just going to keep rolling guys [through the lineup] and play the guys we think are going to give us the best chance — and the other guys have to be ready to go as backups.”"
Daboll elaborated on how Golladay handled his demotion.
"Great,” Daboll said. “I told him during the week that we were going to go with Sills. He acted like a pro. I said, ‘Be ready to go.’ Does that mean it’s going to be [the same] next week? No. … It takes a lot of mental toughness, too. That’s not an easy thing to hear. I appreciate them being pro"
Golladay reportedly cleaned out his locker and left before the media entered the locker room after the game Sunday. That doesn’t seem like handling a demotion too well when it actually came to fruition, and he surely didn’t want to answer questions from the media about his lack of playing time.
Then again, Golladay collected a $764,705 game check to play two snaps against Carolina, so life isn’t too bad if he thinks about it. As Audacy.com noted, Golladay has pocketed more than $34,750 per route run so far this season.
Just into the second season on his four-year, $72 million contract, Golladay is a mistake of former Giants’ general manager David Gettleman. And the new regime is stuck with him, at least for now.
Golladay has the highest cap hit among all NFL wide receivers for this year, $21.15 million according to Spotrac. No one is trading for him unless the Giants eat a big chunk of his salary, or he agrees to a big financial haircut to facilitate a move. Cutting him would leave behind over $25 million in dead money (according to Over The Cap, via a post-June 1 cut), so that’s literally a dead end.
Even in 2023, the dead money for the Giants to cut Golladay exceeds the cap savings. Trading him before June 1, 2023 is about an even split between dead money and cap savings.
Daboll has been clear merit, not contract, draft status, etc. will determine who plays. He’ll presumably have no pressure from general manager Joe Schoen to play Golladay, even to possibly try to showcase him for a trade.
The situation for Golladay with the Giants can’t get much worse. Making him a healthy scratch is the only move left for the team, after only playing two snaps in a game.
The Lions somehow knew Golladay wasn’t worth even the one-year commitment of a franchise tag, let alone a long-term deal, and it was more likely he wouldn’t be a fit for the new culture they were looking to build than he would be. It will stand among the best decisions general manager Brad Holmes made in his first year on the job.