One day after parting ways with Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants are welcoming a new wide receiver to East Rutherford.
The Giants agreed to terms with former Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles receiver Golden Tate on a four-year, $37.5 million deal with $23 million fully guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.
The top free-agent wide receiver available according to NFL.com, Tate split time last year with Detroit and Philly, totaling 74 catches on 113 targets for 795 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 15 games with both clubs. This will be Tate’s fourth team as he enters his 10th season in the league.
By joining the G-Men just over 24 hours after the organization’s divisive trade of Beckham to the Cleveland Browns became official, Tate will inevitably see his production with and impact on the Giants compared, rightly or wrongly, to that of OBJ’s. But the two are wildly different receivers.
Tate is a YAC master with a knack for big plays starting within five yards of the line of scrimmage; he has never exceeded more than seven touchdowns in a season. Beckham was a highlight-reel freak with field-stretching ability and prowess in the red zone; OBJ hauled in 35 touchdowns in his first three years in the league.
When Giants general manager Dave Gettleman insisted in the team’s parting message to Beckham that the organization had a plan, the acquisition of a possession receiver like Tate was probably the first step to recovery. It’s no secret that Eli Manning doesn’t have the arm strength or downfield accuracy he once had, making Beckham’s game-breaking abilities less of a threat as time wore on. The organization’s commitment to Manning has necessitated, in the front office’s mind, a change in philosophy on offense, prioritizing the running game led by Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley and possession receiving.
Whether this bet against Beckham and on Tate pays off remains to be seen. Salary wise, the Giants passed up paying OBJ up to $90 million over five years to pay Tate less than half of that four years, plus $16 million in dead cap owed to Beckham. So, Tate, 30, is a cheaper option but obviously not the talent that Beckham, 26, is.
Despite the loss of Beckham, New York still boasts a promising crop of skill-position players in Tate, Barkley, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram.
The question remains: Can Manning orchestrate that quartet to a tune that will drown out fans’ cries from Beckham, or will the wideout’s specter haunt New York for years to come?
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