A hole created by the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. was filled, at least partially, by the Giants on Thursday when they signed Golden Tate, a 30-year old receiver with a history of being a dependable target for his quarterbacks.
Tate, considered the best remaining wide receiver left on the market, signed a four-year contract worth $37.5 million, including $23 million in guaranteed money.
This cannot be considered the “replacement’’ for Beckham, as once the Giants decided to ship their former star to the Browns they knew they could not replace his production, dynamism and flat-out raw talent. Tate is a 10-year veteran with 611 career receptions for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns, more of a possession threat than a player who is going to rip through a defense. He has three 1,000-yard seasons on his resume and made one Pro Bowl, in 2014, when he had 99 catches for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns for the Lions.
Tate won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks, the team he started his NFL career with back in 2010. Last season, he was traded from the Lions to the Eagles on Oct. 30 and struggled at the start to find his footing in the Philadelphia passing attack. He did come up with a memorable play, when he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Nick Foles in a NFC wild-card playoff victory over the Bears in Chicago. His combined production in 2018 – 74 receptions for 795 yards and four touchdowns – is indicative of what the Giants hope they can get out of Tate in his 11th NFL season.
The Patriots and Cowboys expressed some interest in Tate in free agency. The urgency of the Giants picked up after their stunning trade Tuesday of Beckham, making receiver a position with a glaring need of replenishment. Sterling Shepard, entering his fourth season, was the only proven player among Eli Manning’s targets. Tate instantly vaults to near the top of the pecking order among a group that, after Shepard, includes Corey Coleman, Jawill Davis, Quadree Henderson and Alonzo Russell.
The Giants take a $16 salary cap hit in dead money with the trade of Beckham but gained $5 million in cap relief in 2019 after taking Beckham’s $16.75 million base salary off the books. Clearly, Tare cannot do what Beckham can and the Giants will attempt more of a spread-the-ball approach in their passing game, while leaning heavily on star second-year running back Saquon Barkley in the ground game. In the four games the Giants played at the end of last season while Beckham was out with a quad contusion, they averaged 25.5 points a game, factoring in a shutout loss to the Titans.
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