Giants Likely To Resume Odell Beckham Jr. Pursuit, Eye First-Round WR Pick

The Giants won their first playoff game in 11 years last month, but their wide receiver plan unraveled early in the season. The team’s hopeful top four options at the position going into the season were either injured, traded or nonfactors by the stretch run. As should be expected, outside help will be pursued this offseason.

This year’s wide receiver free agent market is not particularly flashy, which could lead to increased trade buzz. But the Giants should be expected to pick up where they left off with Odell Beckham Jr., Connor Hughes of SNY notes. The team did not view Beckham as being a realistic candidate to help last season, and the former Giant carried unrealistic price demands. This combination scuttled the Giants’ interest, and the other suitors backed off as well. But Beckham will be a factor in free agency.

Assuming Beckham has used the past few months to move closer to 100%, or around 80% of the version he was prior to his second ACL tear, Hughes expects the Giants to be in the mix until the end for a reunion. Beckham, 30, has expressed steady interest in his former team, as tweets during last season’s surprise playoff journey most recently showed, but he may not have the same interest if the Giants move on from both Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley. The two skill-position holdovers from Beckham’s Giants stay are free agency-bound, though the team has shown steady interest in keeping Barkley — so long as such a pursuit does not involve letting Daniel Jones walk.

The Cowboys and Rams are also expected to revisit a Beckham push. Considering this year’s underwhelming market, it will be interesting to see where teams will go to add OBJ. The eight-year veteran was last seen playing a major role in the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI win, but his second ACL tear crushed his 2022 market. He will join the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jakobi Meyers, Allen Lazard, DJ Chark and others on this year’s market.

Shepard joins Wan’Dale Robinson as Giants wideouts to have suffered major injuries in 2022 and joins Darius Slayton in being unattached for 2023. The Giants will also cut Kenny Golladay soon; a post-June 1 distinction will create $13.5MM in cap space for Joe Schoen‘s team. Although free agency will be a key avenue for Big Blue to upgrade at this position, its best chance of landing a No. 1-caliber option will be in the draft. It represents a fairly safe bet the Giants will strongly consider a wideout in Round 1, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports notes.

Penciling in a receiver at No. 25 for New York should be a “pretty safe” bet for the Giants, per Vacchiano. Todd McShay’s first mock sends Boston College’s Zay Flowers to the Giants, while Daniel Jeremiah’s second pegs Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt as the ascending team’s pick. This is a less optimal time to enter an offseason with a receiver need. In addition to the maligned free agency crop, the draft does not look to carry the caliber of talent of recent years. This class lacks dominant options, at least going in, Jeremiah offers (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe). The upcoming Combine and pro days will reveal more about this class’ capabilities.

The Giants’ last major receiver draft splash came two years ago, in Kadarius Toney. After the Eagles foiled the Giants’ plans to take DeVonta Smith, the Dave Gettleman regime settled on Toney. The shifty but incredibly injury-prone player wore out his welcome quickly in the Big Apple, and the Giants traded him to the Chiefs for third- and sixth-round picks. Toney has not stayed healthy in Kansas City, either, but he did score a walk-in touchdown in Super Bowl LVII and set a Super Bowl record with a 65-yard punt return. The Chiefs acquired Toney before the trade deadline, but GM Brett Veach said (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) the team discussed him with the Giants during the 2022 offseason.

Toney trade talk emerged briefly in the offseason, before the team shot it down. During that window, however, a Chiefs offer may well have emerged. The Giants held off on doing a trade with the Chiefs at that point, rightly viewing Kansas City picks as being likely to land late in rounds. Presumably, no better offers for the ex-Florida Gator come before the deadline. The Giants ended up landing the last picks in Round 3 and Round 6 (Nos. 100 and 196 overall) in the trade.

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