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Folks, I’m here to interrupt your Saturday to discuss one of the most polarizing Giants players of the last four seasons for the Giants: Evan Engram. One thing is certain about Evan Engram: He is the king of screwing up on schedule. If there’s something that can be messed up there are times where it’s a matter of when not if when it comes to him screwing that thing up.
At the same time, evaluating Evan Engram’s first four years as a professional comes with a lot of nuance and unfortunately people in today’s world don’t do well with nuance. He’s had some really bright moments in this league while playing through injuries and inconsistent quarterback play but he also can’t get out of his own way. It’s driven Giants fans insane.
Some people hear the name and they immediately think of a freak athlete who is 6’3″ and 240 pounds with a 4.4 second forty yard dash time and Pro Bowl tight end. Others hear the name and think of Land O’Lakes butter from the passes that slip between his fingers or a trampoline for the passes that just bounce off of his hands and right into the arms of defenders. Sometimes he looks like a stud wide receiver when he catches passes and other times he looks like Larry Donnell.
He’s a tough egg to crack.
So while we’re waiting for someone to give Engram the egg that needs cracking and we wait for him to drop that said egg so that it cracks, I’m going to give you a run down of the three options that the Giants have when it comes to handling Evan Engram this offseason. Every single one of these has pros and every single one of these has cons. Let’s get to it.
Option 1: Trade Evan Engram for Draft Picks
This option is probably the most popular option among fan circles but it’s not the option I’d recommend. Tight End is an incredibly tough position to find in the NFL and trading Engram would leave a massive hole in an already horrid Giants offense.
There’s nobody on the roster right now that can replace him, either. We heard all last summer that Kaden Smith was going to grow into a great tight end and he caught just eighteen passes this past season.
On top of all that, pretty much any rookie tight end that we would take in the draft, sans Kyle Pitts, would likely be a huge downgrade from Evan Engram as tight ends take a while to develop in most cases at the pro level. Trading Evan Engram this offseason would be a mistake.
Option 2: Extend Evan Engram
Most Giants fans are spitting out their drinks but this option absolutely could be on the table for the Giants this offseason. Would I do this? No. But it’s not as crazy as you think.
For starters, the Giants could lock in a number that is incredibly cap friendly should they extend Evan Engram this offseason. If Evan Engram has an insanely great season in 2021 then his cap number will shoot up. The Giants had a similar situation happen with Leonard Williams this past season.
That being said, just like it was with the situation with Leonard Williams this past offseason, there’s always the chance that he doesn’t end up playing incredibly well and then you’re stuck with him for multiple seasons after this one. Obviously with Williams hindsight is 20-20 (literally) and the Giants probably wish that they signed him long term last offseason. That being said, the franchise tag as the right move because we’ve seen plenty of similar situations go sour. Going the same route with Evan Engram would be ideal, which brings us to option number 3…
Option 3: Let Evan Engram Play Out his Fifth Year Option
At last we arrive at our final option and the one that I would do if I were the one making the decision. This may be my most lukewarm take of all time, but the best thing that the Giants can do with Evan Engram’s contract heading into next season would be to just let him play it out and make a decision next offseason.
Engram simply hasn’t shown enough to get paid big money but he also isn’t a bust. He’s spent his career somewhere in the middle. See where his fifth season takes him. As I mentioned earlier, tight ends do take a while to develop. Maybe he becomes great and he commands a massive contract as a free agent in 2022 but it is more likely that he will be a slightly improved version of himself.
This is the option with the least amount of risk. In a football world where the salary cap is going to plunge next season, this is the best option.