Kadarius Toney‘s Giants tenure ended after 41 receptions, 420 yards and no touchdowns. The decision to send him to the Chiefs stemmed partially around trust issues, along with the injury-prone player fetching a Day 2 draft choice in Thursday’s deal.
Toney had missed the past five games due to separate hamstring injuries. The talented pass catcher missed time during training camp with a hamstring issue and, after catching two passes for zero yards in the Giants’ first two games, reinjured the same hamstring in September. While rehabbing the second hamstring injury, Toney injured his other hamstring. But he and the Giants had a difference of opinion in how Week 8 would play out.
The Giants preferred to sit Toney against the Seahawks. The second-year receiver, however, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan, believed he had recovered. Toney indicated this himself in a since-deleted tweet (via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Multiple factors influenced the Giants’ plan, according to the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
The new Giants regime wanted to keep a trade door open and felt it was more likely than not, given Toney’s injury history, he would damage his trade value if he played in Seattle. An injury designation would also have led to Toney being forced to stay in town during the team’s bye week for rehab purposes, per Schwartz, who adds the Florida product would not have wanted to go through with that plan.
Both the Giants’ current regime and its Dave Gettleman-led front office did not appear to trust Toney. The team’s present staff worried Toney would leave town and not follow through with the necessary steps to play in Week 10, with Schwartz adding conditioning represented a concern. This is not out of step with how the previous regime perceived Toney, who entered the draft with some baggage. The previous Giants staff did not have an issue with Toney when he was at the team’s facility, Raanan tweets, but they did not trust him to put in the work offsite.
Durability and attitude concerns led several teams to take Toney off their draft boards, Schwartz adds. The Giants had eyed DeVonta Smith with their 2021 first-round pick, but the Eagles traded in front of them. New York then traded back to No. 20, allowing Chicago to move up to No. 11 for Justin Fields. Toney became the selection, which irked Urban Meyer, who planned to draft him had he lasted to the Jaguars’ No. 25 pick. Travis Etienne has worked out a bit better.
Between then and the hamstring trouble that cropped up this year, Toney showed electric ability — mostly in two October 2021 games — but battled myriad injury issues. Toney began down a strange path when he did not show for Giants OTAs last year, surprising the team’s previous coaching staff. After missing most of last year’s training camp with hamstring trouble, Toney missed seven games due to ankle, quad, oblique and shoulder ailments. The new Giants regime entertained trade talks this offseason, one in which Toney also underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.
The Chiefs have Toney under contract through 2024; a fifth-year option could extend that deal through 2025. After giving ex-Giants first-rounder DeAndre Baker a second opportunity, the Chiefs will roll the dice on another Gettleman-era top pick. Toney, who clocked a 4.39-second 40-yard dash coming out of Florida, would stand to be a developmental player in Kansas City. After wearing out his welcome with two Giants regimes, it will be interesting how the boom-or-bust talent fares under Andy Reid and Co.