Getty Evan Engram #88 of the New York Giants warms up prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks.
With a loss of revenue across the NFL landscape due to ramifications from the pandemic, the league and the NFLPA agreed to a 2021 salary cap floor of $175 million, a potential $23-plus million decrease from this year’s cap of $198.2 million. Meaning an already strapped for cash New York Giants team will need to find new, creative ways to free up cash flow if they have hopes of improving their roster via free agency.
With a smidge over $10 million in cap space entering the offseason, the G-Men will almost certainly be cutting bait with a handful of veteran names in the next coming months. The New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy recently zeroed in on eight specific potential salary-cap casualties this offseason, headlined by more obvious candidates such as guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Golden Tate.
Yet, it was the inclusion of a first-time Pro Bowler which caught our eye and may bring a tear of joy to Giants fans if it ultimately materializes.
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Evan Engram Done in New York?
When it comes to Giants fans, their patience towards tight end Evan Engram appears to have worn thin long ago. If we had to pinpoint the exact moment, it’s probably right around the time the former first-rounder let a would-be game-winning catch slip through his extended hands against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7. Or maybe it was in the midst of his 10 other dropped passes this past season.
Either way, the tight end has not lived up to the billing of a first-round draft pick and a perceived cornerstone of the Giants’ aerial attack. Will the franchise continue to force it with the underperforming pass-catcher? As Dunleavy highlights, most likely. With that said, with a potential out from underneath his contract, things could get interesting over these next few months.
Cap hit if on the team: $6 million
Dead money if cut: $0
Savings: $6 million
Age for Week 1: 27
Why does a Pro Bowler and one of coach Joe Judge’s favorites belong here? He probably doesn’t. But Giants fans are tired of his drops — six interceptions when he was targeted — and management’s patience could wear thin. Because he is not injured, his fifth-year option salary in 2021 is not guaranteed until March.
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On the outside looking in, Engram’s 2020 campaign would likely be chalked up as a success. The former Ole Miss Rebel ranked second on the team in receptions (63) and third in yards (654), each of which ranks as his second-best output in said categories over his four-year career. The former number ranked third in the NFC, behind Washington’s Logan Thomas and Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson, leading to his first career Pro Bowl nod.
Yet, a closer look shows a player struggling mightily to live up to lofty expectations set upon him by the Giants organization. We’ve already harped on the immense number of drops. What we hadn’t yet highlighted was the fact that six passes intended for Engram were intercepted this year. Furthermore, he notched a career-worst 55.4% passer rating when targeted, per Pro Football Focus.
We have been somewhat bullish in opposing Engram’s exit over the past year. That’s not to say we aren’t disappointed in his play, because we are, greatly. Yet, it’s just difficult to say goodbye to a talented offensive player on a unit so talent depleted.
However, at some point, Engram needs to tap into his loads of untapped potential, because if he can’t, then he’s simply what he is in this moment. And what he is in this moment may not warrant sticking around East Rutherford beyond March.