The New York Giants are a dumpster fire for yet another year. The Giants are currently occupying fourth place in an impressively bad NFC East division with a record of 1-6.
As the NFL approaches its Tuesday trade deadline, there’s no doubt what New York’s role is. Giants are going to be sellers and might be going for a fire sale. Whether they actually have to or not, this currently seems to be their direction near the halfway point of the 2020 campaign.
New York has won a combined total of five games over the last two seasons. Their biggest problem is an offense that has produced the second-fewest yards per game thus far amidst Saquon Barkley’s absence. Moreover, the Giants’ defense is near the middle of the pack, needing to improve their pass-rush and secondary, despite acquiring James Bradberry in the offseason. They’ll certainly look for upgrades to both components next year as they are not that far off contention. However, for now, their focus is adding draft capital and this route goes through dealing away some of their more productive players.
Some of the trade assets were in the same position 12 months ago when the Giants were sellers. Others are also subject to trade calls as New York seeks a bright spot to a seemingly nightmare-ish campaign. Here are three names that could be on the trade block.
Evan Engram, TE
It was last year that the Giants first started to explore trade options for their starting tight end. This came at a time when Engram had a team-friendly rookie deal for suitors. However, he was frequently injured and had suffered a drop in his production for the second year in a row. He has been targeted about 60 times in each of his last two seasons. Engram’s value wasn’t as high as the Giants hoped, which perhaps played a role in them not trading the 26-year-old. Now, 12 months later, he is in the midst of one of his best seasons at the professional level and the Giants have new hopes of getting a decent return.
Engram has posted 26 receptions on 44 targets, a 59% success percentage. This is the second-worst out of his four campaigns. At the same time, he is on pace to register more than 80 targets in 2020, more than either 2019 or 2018. Furthermore, he has caught more than 50 percent of the balls thrown to him in every game but Week 1 against Pittsburgh. He is very clearly playing his best year since his rookie season in 2017.
The resurgence of the former Ole Mississippi prospect comes at the perfect time for his current team. His deal is due at the end of the 2021 season. He will get $6 million in total guaranteed money for the last year of his rookie contract. In addition, this is likely the point his value has hit its peak at. Unless they wait and he continues to impress and the Giants either compete next year or he just plays well again, this is the perfect time to get a deal done.
The Giants’ offensive core is capable of big things and Engram should be a part of it. However, the offensive line and the defense still need a lot of work. Evan Engram might not be a priority to re-sign next year, especially if he doesn’t have a good 2021. If there is somebody whose value is still considerably high but is still realistically replaceable, it is their tight end. This is the time for the Giants to get something along the lines of 3rd or 4th-rounder for Engram, instead of nothing, because that might not be a realistic goal next year.
Golden Tate, WR
Golden Tate’s most notable woe is that he hasn’t played a 16-game season in four years. However, his numbers show that he’s very efficient when he joins in the intermediate passing game. That, in addition to a friendly contract situation, could tempt many clubs to make calls for the long-tenured wide receiver.
Tate has two and a half years left on his deal, originally worth $37.5 million over four years. He is owed a total of $10 million in 2020 and another $19 million through 2022 if his team doesn’t cut him. Therefore, he could both be a half-year rental and a long-term pickup. This means that he is unlikely to become a liability if he has a bad remainder of the season.
This leaves only his trade value as a concern. It might not be all that expensive as Golden Tate’s been fairly quiet since coming to New Jersey. In 2019, he caught 49 passes but his catch percentage amounted to merely 57.6%. Meanwhile, he averaged more than 13 yards per catch only for the second time since joining the Lions and becoming a Pro-Bowler in 2014. This year, Golden Tate returned to short and effective plays, successfully catching 20 of 26 thrown balls, with an average of 9.8 yards/catch.
Due to his experience, Golden Tate’s price might just be slightly more expensive than Engram. Tate is owed more in salary and bonuses but is equally easy to dispose of. At the same time, Tate might be a more vital weapon for Daniel Jones as a more dominant pass-catcher than Engram when healthy. If the Giants want to return to contention shortly, they would want to trade Engram rather than Tate. However, Tate might give them a slightly higher draft pick.
Kevin Zeitler, RG
Zeitler has had a very solid career and 2020 is just among his most consistent years. The former Bengal is on pace to have played 100 percent of all offensive snaps for the fourth time in five years. Furthermore, Zeitler has only committed a single penalty, as opposed to the three he made during his best year with 100% snaps. The Giants’ right tackle clearly justifies his big contract but New York’s O-Line has disappointed yet again. With the Giants heavy sellers, the unit’s future is in jeopardy amid Zeitler’s trade rumors.
The 30-year-old offensive lineman’s contract ends in 2021 when he will get $14 million. This year, he will receive $12.5 million for the whole 2020 season. However, in the worst-case scenario, this can still be a viable four-month rental deal. A team that chooses to cut Zeitler, which is highly unlikely, will only take on $2.5 million of 2021 dead cap space with just his signing bonus being guaranteed since 2019.
Zeitler, just like Tate and Engram, is a talented player who can be the core of his unit and can be built around. In the meantime, the Giants could get a good return in the range of a fourth-rounder or even better if they elect to trade him.
Should there be a trade at all?
As much value as all three players might have, it would be a wrong move to trade more than one player.
Engram seems like the easiest player to replace as he’s a tight end. However, he can be the team’s lead pass-catcher when at his best. Moreover, Tate and Zeitler might possess a bigger value but are more crucial to their respective units. Ideally, the Giants should get a late Day 2/early Day 3 draft pick for Engram. Then, they could use their $25 million of cap space to build around Tate and Zeitler and fix the defense.