How the Giants are going to replace Golden Tate — and really, Odell Beckham Jr.

Golden Tate missing catch

The Giants signed Golden Tate two years ago as essentially the replacement for Odell Beckham. He obviously wasn’t the same caliber of player, but Tate was only one year removed from a string of 90-catch, 1,000-yard seasons.

Two years, a lot of trouble, and a lot less production later, the 32-year-old Tate has been released, and the Giants are faced with the same dilemma. They don’t just need a replacement for Tate. They still need a replacement for Beckham.

And despite a rich free-agent receiver market, it seems much more likely that replacement will come from the draft.

Finding a No. 1 receiver in free agency could be tough for the Giants, especially since the top receivers will be expensive and gone quickly – and some might not even make it to the market at all. It’s possible that by Tuesday, Chicago’s Allen Robinson, Detroit’s Kenny Golladay and Tampa’s Chris Godwin will all get the franchise tag from their current teams.

That will leave teams shopping in a reduced field with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis and Will Fuller as the top-of-the-market targets. And given the number of teams with lots of cap space expected to be in the hunt for those players – like the Jets, who could have $90 million to spend – the Giants could quickly find themselves squeezed out.

“If those three guys are off the market, the next three aren’t going to be offering discounts,” said one NFL agent. “They’ll be the ones looking for the top deals. They might look for them anyway, but with three top guys off the market they’ll have a much better chance of sparking a bidding war and getting what they want.”

And that’s a problem for the Giants, considering the going rate for top receivers is about $18-22 million per year. Assuming the cap gets set around $185 million, the Giants currently are only projected to have about $13 million in room after cutting Tate and linebacker David Mayo on Wednesday. They have easy ways to create more space – perhaps as much as $20-25 million more – but that still might not be enough.

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It will depend on what happens with defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. The Giants would like to retain both, but might need $25-30 million in salary cap space to do it with Williams likely to get a deal worth $20 million per year and Tomlinson expected to land somewhere in the $10 million per year range.

The Giants could still shop in a lower tier of the market for receivers like Carolina’s Curtis Samuel or Detroit’s Marvin Jones, though they could still end up with deals in the $8-10 million per year range. And there’s always the chance that a top receiver could become someone’s cap casualty in the next few weeks, though that doesn’t appear likely at the moment.

That’s why the draft could be the Giants’ salvation. They have the No. 11 pick in the first round of a draft that has three receivers seemingly worthy of a Top 10 pick. It seems almost certain that one of those three – LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle – will be available when the Giants make their first selection. And there’s also Florida’s Kyle Pitts, the best tight end in the draft who might be just as dangerous a weapon as any of those receivers.

And if the Giants choose to look to another position in the first round – like a cornerback, tackle or edge rusher – the real good news for them is that this is another extremely deep class of receivers. In the second round they could be looking at excellent prospects, such as LSU’s Terrace Marshall, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, Mississippi’s Elijah Moore, or Louisville’s Tutu Atwell.

Will any of them be as good as Beckham? Maybe one of the ones they’d target at 11has a chance. It’s a bit more of a crapshoot on the receivers in the second round. But any of them would be a welcomed addition to anemic offense and would take some of the pressure off Sterling Shepard (66 catches, 656 yards, 3 touchdowns last season) and Darius Slayton (50-751-3).

The available free agents would do that, too, but the cost for them could prevent the Giants from doing other things. The value of the receivers in the draft, though, will be hard to pass up.

Published: 2021-03-04 23:17:35

Tags: #Giants #replace #Golden #Tate #Odell #Beckham

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