Darius Slayton

Giants WR Darius Slayton Accepts Pay Cut

Rumored as a departure candidate for months, Darius Slayton was on the Giants’ 53-man roster last week. But the team excusing the fourth-year wide receiver from its Tuesday practice injected more uncertainty into this situation.

Wednesday morning, however, brought some clarity. He is accepting a pay cut, Newsday’s Tom Rock tweets. Slayton agreed to reduce his salary from $2.54MM to a league-minimum (for players with his service time) $965K. Although this creates nearly $2MM in cap space for the Giants, Rock adds Slayton, who will return to practice Wednesday, can earn some of his money back through incentives.

This transaction essentially erases the raise he was due on a proven performance escalator. Slayton’s fifth-round salary had climbed to the $2.54MM mark after he played at least 35% of the Giants’ offensive snaps over his first three seasons. It will be interesting to see if he gets there this year.

This is far from the most notable cap-related move to come out of Giants headquarters this week, as their Leonard Williams restructure created nearly $12MM in space and changed their post-2022 math with the highly paid defensive lineman. But it does affect the roster status of a player who led the team in receiving in each of his first two seasons.

A former fifth-round pick, Slayton totaled 1,491 receiving yards from 2019-20. From a star-studded draft class, that total ranks fourth — ahead of both Deebo Samuel and Marquise Brown — in that span. But the Auburn alum totaled just 339 yards (on 26 receptions) last season. The Giants’ offense cratered in 2021, which saw QB Daniel Jones miss extensive time and OC Jason Garrett and HC Joe Judge being fired, but the team had added Kenny Golladay in free agency and used a first-round pick on Kadarius Toney. This year’s second-round selection of Wan’Dale Robinson further affected Slayton’s status.

After averaging north of 15 yards per catch as a deep threat from 2019-20, Slayton was shopped during the draft and used as a backup throughout the offseason. That is expected to be his 2022 role under Brian Daboll. In addition to the Golladay-Toney-Robinson-Sterling Shepard quartet, the Giants kept two other receivers — David Sills and Richie James — on their 53-man roster.

Slayton may still be a trade chip, with the salary reduction potentially increasing the likelihood of an in-season move. Interest emerged before last week’s roster-cutdown deadline. For now, the veteran remains on a Giants team full of notable receiver investments — but one whose passing-game pecking order under Daboll remains fairly unknown.

Darius Slayton Generating Trade Interest

Darius Slayton‘s Giants stock has dropped considerably this offseason. The team’s new regime has not appeared to view the fourth-year wide receiver in the same light compared to the one that drafted him. An exit looks to be in the cards for the former Giants leading receiver.

Trade inquiries have come in, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Slayton is due a $2.54MM base salary in 2022, and while the Auburn alum has not had a particularly good offseason, he has been a Giants regular in each of his three seasons. Teams have until 3pm CT Tuesday to finalize their 53-man rosters.

New York has been connected to parting ways with Slayton for months. The team shopped the former fifth-round pick before the draft. Slayton then did not impress during Brian Daboll‘s first offseason in charge, failing to be a first-team regular despite injuries to most of the Giants’ other top wideouts this summer.

With the likes of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney back, and Sterling Shepard progressing toward a return, Slayton’s spot remains tenuous. A hamstring injury also slowed Slayton during training camp, but Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes he is back at full strength (Twitter link).

The Giants drafting Wan’Dale Robinson in Round 2, doing so after reaching a pay-cut agreement to retain Shepard, made Slayton vulnerable. Golladay’s guarantees essentially ensure him being part of Daboll’s first Giants squad, despite the ex-Lion’s woes since signing his big-ticket free agency deal last year, while the Toney trade talk that cropped up briefly this year has cooled. The team is ready to see what it has in the 2021 first-rounder.

New York does have roster injury-prone wideouts, in Shepard and Toney, and has seen Slayton post two 700-plus-yard seasons (in 2019 and ’20, both outings leading those Giants teams in receiving yards). He finished with just 339 yards last season, though no Giants pass catcher excelled on a miserable 2021 offense. Barring a trade, we may be a day away from Slayton hitting the waiver wire.

NFC East Rumors: Eagles’ QB3, Seumalo, Giants, Slayton

For much of the pre-draft process, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong‘s name was often mentioned among the top players at the position. At the end of the draft, though, Strong’s name was still on the board and he found himself fielding calls as an undrafted free agent, deciding to sign with Philadelphia for a guaranteed amount of $320,000, the highest amount to any undrafted free agent in 2022.

While many thought the impressive signing bonus essentially guaranteed that Strong would slot in on the depth chart just behind top-two quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew, the competition for the No. 3 quarterback seems to gotten away from Strong. An underwhelming offseason has led Strong to fall to fourth on the depth chart behind a late-season waiver claim from last year, according to Bo Wulf of The Athletic.

Reid Sinnett was claimed off waivers in late-October by the Eagles last season. He’s spent time on the practice squads for both the Buccaneers and Dolphins and has had an impressive offseason with the Eagles. Wulf even posits that, if Sinnett can have a strong enough preseason, Philadelphia may want to reconsider hearing some trade offers for Minshew, who has struggled throughout camp in the final year of his rookie contract.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with another rumor from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • For much of the offseason, the back-loaded nature of Isaac Seumalo‘s contract led those in league circles to consider him a prime candidate to be cut for cap space. It was expected that Philadelphia would have Jack Driscoll and Cam Jurgens compete with Seumalo for the starting right guard job, allowing one of them to take the reins and make it easier to part ways with Seumalo. But, according to Wulf, there is no competition for the position. Despite the troubles many expected from his contract, Seumalo has the starting spot locked down while Driscoll and Jurgens haven’t taken a single rep at right guard this preseason.
  • Giants No. 2 cornerback Aaron Robinson got picked on quite a bit during the team’s preseason win over the Patriots this week. The second-year cornerback opposite Adoree’ Jackson is likely to be challenged pretty consistently throughout the season, and Robinson’s struggles seemed to emphasize the glaring lack of depth at cornerback in New York. This could lead the Giants to be on the lookout for an outside cornerback to add to the room, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. This outside help could come in the form of a current free agent or a veteran cornerback that finds himself on the market as roster cuts continue throughout the league.
  • After running with the second- and third-team for most of the offseason, wide receiver Darius Slayton ran with the Giants’ starters in the team’s preseason game this week and was featured exclusively. After leading the team in receiving in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Slayton emerged as a trade candidate at the beginning of the offseason and, more recently, found himself in danger of getting waived. Despite being feature prominently on Thursday, it still seems that Slayton is not long for New York. In fact, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post believes that playing Slayton as a starter this week was intended to display him to the trade market in an effort to pump up his value as a trade asset. Look for more Slayton targets throughout the remainder of the preseason if this proves true.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Mills, Eagles

The Giants continue to entertain the prospect of Brian Daboll not calling plays when the season opens. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will hold that responsibility in the team’s preseason opener Thursday, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. Working behind Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy as Chiefs quarterbacks coach, Kafka was not in a play-calling position in Kansas City. The former NFL backup QB also was not expected to be a play-calling OC, with Daboll being at the controls for Josh Allen‘s star turn. Daboll has not ruled out calling plays himself, but this matter being uncertain entering the preseason is an interesting development for the team.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Just before their preseason slate, the Commanders are making a staff change. Ron Rivera announced the firing of defensive line coach Sam Mills III. Assistant D-line coach Jeff Zgonina will move up, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter), with assistant DBs coach Brent Vielselmeyer set to help out. Mills, 44, has been with Rivera throughout his coaching career, beginning with the Panthers — the team with which his late father, the recently inducted Hall of Fame linebacker, retired — in 2005 and staying on for Rivera’s nine-season tenure (2011-19). Rivera brought Mills with him from Carolina in 2020, and the latter headed up a defensive line that did plenty to spark the team’s surprise playoff run that year. Rivera (via Jhabvala, on Twitter) described the separation as having to do with this offseason and training camp, rather than previous years’ performance.
  • Darius Slayton has gone from the Giants‘ 2019 and ’20 receiving leader to a trade candidate to a player in danger of being waived. While it should not be ruled out another team trades for the contract-year wide receiver, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes it would be a surprise if Slayton was on the team’s 53-man roster (subscription required). Slayton was not receiving many first-team reps during the offseason, when much of Big Blue’s receiving corps was battling injuries, showed where this could be headed. He has continued to be a second- or third-teamer at camp. If cut, the former fifth-round pick will surely generate waiver-wire interest.
  • Darnay Holmes appears to have seized command of the Giants’ slot cornerback competition. Competing with third-round rookie Cor’Dale Flott, Holmes has taken every first-team rep at the position during camp, Duggan adds. Their configuration could change during the preseason, but the Giants look set to go with Holmes, Adoree’ Jackson and 2021 third-rounder Aaron Robinson at corner.
  • Jeremiah Washburn has been working as an Eagles coach and executive for a bit now, and this rare combination has since come with a promotion. Washburn is now in charge of Philadelphia’s edge defenders, being named the team’s defensive ends and outside linebackers coach. He was previously a senior defensive assistant. Washburn remains the team’s player personnel director. Alex Tanney is also rising up the Eagles’ staff, moving from the quality control level to the team’s assistant quarterbacks coach.
  • Cowboys national scout Drew Fabianich left for a job at Auburn recently, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He will become the SEC program’s general manager and director of football scouting and development. Fabianich was with Dallas for nearly 20 years.

Giants Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson In Line To Start?

The Giants have a number of options to choose from at receiver, each of whom is more experienced than Wan’Dale Robinson. The second-round rookie is currently making a case for a starting role right away, however. 

As noted by The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (subscription required), Robinson is currently occupying a first-team role in training camp practices. The other two spots, not surprisingly, have been taken up by Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney. That setup leaves a notable name in Darius Slayton relegated to backup work.

The veteran found himself in trade talks once again this offseason, one marked by the plethora of cost-cutting moves new general manager Joe Schoen was forced to make given the team’s salary cap situation. Slated to carry a charge of nearly $2.6MM this season, he could find himself amongst the team’s roster cuts if a trade partner can’t be found.

That leaves Robinson a path to significant reps early on his career, especially considering the disappointing first seasons in the Big Apple displayed by Golladay and Toney. Veteran Sterling Shepard will return for a seventh campaign after taking a pay cut this offseason, but his latest injury concern clouds his future beyond 2022. Robinson therefore faces little competition in terms of known commodities at a position of great importance to the Giants’ desired offensive turnaround.

After posting 1,445 scrimmage yards last season, the Kentucky product demonstrated his ability to produce significant numbers. The five-foot-11 slot man presents plenty of long-term potential for New York, but his inclusion with the starters ahead of Slayton in particular points to a heavier workload to begin his career than some would have expected.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Eagles, Clark

Participation among key Giants receivers was light during this year’s offseason. Sterling Shepard continues to close out his Achilles rehab, while Kadarius Toney missed time because of a new injury. Kenny Golladay was also limited during the team’s spring workouts. This could point to Darius Slayton being retained as an insurance policy of sorts, but the fourth-year wideout does not seem to be a favorite of the new regime, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com offers. Slayton buzz this offseason continues to point to a departure, and Raanan does not have the former fifth-rounder making the team. The Giants shopped the two-time 700-yard receiver ahead of the draft and took Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson in Round 2, further crowding their receiving corps. Due to a proven performance escalator, Slayton’s rookie contract finishes up with a $2.5MM 2022 salary.

Here is the NFC East’s latest:

  • Haason Reddick‘s potential role as an outside linebacker who moves to defensive end on passing downs in a 4-3 scheme reminded of Von Miller‘s in his initial Broncos seasons. But the Eagles may no longer be keen on keeping their highly paid edge rusher in the garage. They are leaning toward more 3-4 sets this season, Tim McManus of ESPN.com notes. This would allow Reddick, who turned his career around after the Cardinals gave him a chance as a pure edge player in 2020, the opportunity to rush on most plays. The former first-round pick has accumulated 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
  • The Eagles have a formidable-looking defensive tackle crew, having drafted Jordan Davis to pair with Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Despite Davis’ massive frame, McManus adds the Eagles believe he can be a three-down player. Nose tackles often come off the field on passing downs, making the use of a top-15 pick on one questionable. While Davis might not be ticketed for an immediate three-down role, given the veterans that headline his Philly position group, the Georgia-developed size-speed freak will have that chance as a pro.
  • Cowboys rookie linebacker Damone Clark is not expected to suit up anytime soon. The fifth-round pick underwent spinal fusion surgery in March, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota, and may miss the season. Even if Clarke suits up, Machota adds the Cowboys are not expecting that to happen until late in the season (subscription required). Clark recorded 135 tackles and 5.5 sacks during his final LSU season and will rejoin ex-Tigers teammate Jabril Cox as part of Dallas’ linebacking corps.
  • Although Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson went first and second overall, Giants DC Don Martindale and outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins viewed Kayvon Thibodeaux as this draft’s best edge prospect, Raanan notes. Lofty draft-board proclamations often emerge after teams make their picks, but the Giants did select a player who exited 2021 atop many mock drafts. The team plans on using Thibodeaux as an inside pass rusher as well, Raanan adds. Big Blue has enjoyed success with edge rushers moving inside, but it has been a while since Justin Tuck and Co. thrived in the Big Apple.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Commanders, Staff, Toney, Giants, Eagles

The Cowboys and Commanders each ran afoul of NFL offseason rules during their OTA workouts this year. As a result, each team will lose 2023 practice time and each squad’s head coach received a six-figure fine. Both Mike McCarthy and Ron Rivera received $100K fines for workouts deemed over the line, the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano note (Twitter link). Washington will be short two OTA days in 2023 due to excessive contact. This marks the second consecutive year McCarthy received a fine for offseason overwork. He received a $50K fine last year, with the Cowboys being docked $100K and a 2022 OTA for 2021 violations. The Cowboys will be docked one OTA day in 2023. OTAs do not hold the role they once did, and teams have begun to limit offseason activities on their own. The Eagles will go into training camp after not holding a mandatory minicamp. But Dallas and Washington will need to make minor adjustments to their 2023 offseason schedules.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Injuries wrecked the Giants‘ offense last season, sidelining starters at just about every position. Some new issues cropped up this offseason. Neither Kenny Golladay nor Kadarius Toney participated fully at any point during Big Blue’s offseason program, per NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt, who adds Toney is dealing with a new knee injury (Golladay’s issue is unknown). Toney injuries have become a recurring problem for the Giants. Ankle, oblique and quadriceps issues limited Toney to 10 games last season, one that began after he missed most of training camp due to a hamstring problem. This year’s camp becomes more important for the 2021 first-rounder as a result of last year’s run of setbacks.
  • Toney still projects as part of Brian Daboll‘s first 53-man roster; Darius Slayton might not. The Dave Gettleman-era investment has been mentioned in trade rumors, and The Athletic’s Dan Duggan views the former fifth-round pick as unlikely to be part of this year’s Giants edition (subscription required). The Giants are likely to continue shopping Slayton up until cut day, Duggan adds, as he would be their No. 5 receiver if everyone is healthy. Almost no one in the team’s top four (Golladay, Toney, Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson) being healthy could point to Slayton staying. Shepard is still recovering from the Achilles tear he suffered last season. A two-time 700-yard receiver, Slayton is due a $2.54MM salary in 2022.
  • Both Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates were lost for the season early in the Giants’ miserable 2021 slate. While Lemieux is favored to start at left guard this season, Rosenblatt notes Gates might not return to action at all this season. This is not an out-of-the-blue development. Then-HC Joe Judge said Gates’ leg fracture sustained in Week 2 of last season could be career-threatening. That said, a report earlier this year gave Gates better odds at returning. The Giants gave Gates — a 16-game center starter in 2020 — a two-year, $6.82MM extension two years ago. But offseason addition Jon Feliciano is ticketed to take over at center.
  • The Eagles lost nearly all of their high-ranking front office staffers this offseason, seeing four of them leave for assistant GM gigs elsewhere. One of those, Andy Weidl, is now Omar Khan‘s right-hand man in Pittsburgh. Weidl worked with the Eagles for more than six years, and although he took over the team’s VP of player personnel post after Joe Douglas became the Jets’ GM in 2019, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes Howie Roseman did not give Weidl as much input as Douglas had. This became an understandable source of friction for Weidl. The Eagles went in a different direction with their new Roseman right-hand men, promoting staffers without traditional scouting backgrounds (Jon Ferrari and Alec Hallaby) to assistant GM posts.

Giants Shopping Darius Slayton

Kadarius Toney has garnered most of the headlines for the Giants recently, but he’s not the only wideout who could soon be on his way out of New York. According to Dan Duggan of the Athletic, Darius Slayton is being shopped around by the team (subscription required). 

[RELATED: Giants Willing To Trade Toney]

Slayton, 25, has been involved in trade discussions before. In the run-up to last season’s trade deadline, the Giants began receiving calls on his availability. They didn’t end up dealing him, but New Orleans was named as a team which attempted to strike a deal. In a disappointing 2021 season, Slayton totalled 26 catches for 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

In his two other seasons in the NFL, however, the Auburn product put up encouraging numbers. His receptions (48 and 50) and yardage (740 and 751) totals were almost identical between 2019 and 2020, though he found the endzone much more frequently in his rookie campaign. That made him part of the cause for optimism surrounding the Giants’ passing game this past season, but the team ranked 31st in the league through the air.

As Duggan notes, Slayton’s usage earned him the proven performance escalator, which has direct financial consequences for the coming season. After three years of six-figure cap hits, that number will increase to just under $2.6MM in 2022. That makes him much less affordable for New York – which, after a slew of cost-cutting measures, still faces a tight cap situation – and less attractive to any potential trade partner. Duggan writes that it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Slayton cut from the roster if a trade doesn’t materialize.

The Giants are well-positioned if they wish to re-shape their WR room this week via the draft. Especially if they add significantly to the position, Slayton could soon find himself in a new NFL home.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Giants Place T Matt Peart On IR

The Giants will not have one of their tackles available for a while. While they placed Matt Peart on IR on Thursday, the second-year blocker will be shut down well into the offseason.

Peart suffered a torn ACL during the Giants’ Week 16 game against the Eagles. The 2020 third-round pick was starting in place of Nate Solder, who was out after a positive COVID-19 test.

This could impact the Giants’ plans at right tackle. Solder is due to be a free agent in March, thanks to a reworked contract. His 2020 opt-out changed the Giants’ offensive line approach, sliding Andrew Thomas to left tackle. Peart played 22% of the Giants’ offensive snaps last season and upped that to 43% this year. Peart made five starts this season.

While Peart probably factors into the Giants’ post-2021 plans, his stock will take a hit because of this injury and the franchise being set to move on from GM Dave Gettleman. The Giants have dealt with considerable issues up front this season, having played without interior-line starters Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates. Both starters suffered severe injuries, with Gates’ September setback a possible career-ender. Beyond Thomas, not much is certain about the Giants’ offensive front beyond this season.

The Giants also activated Solder from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday but moved tackle Korey Cunningham and wide receiver Darius Slayton to the virus list. Cunningham had replaced Peart at right tackle in Philadelphia. The Giants also placed running back Gary Brightwell on IR.