Evan Engram

Jaguars Want To Re-Sign TE Evan Engram

Evan Engram‘s one-year “prove it” deal ended up benefiting both he and the Jaguars. The former first-round pick provided a significant boost at a position the Jaguars had struggled to staff for many years.

The former Giants draftee caught 73 passes for 766 yards — both career-high marks, with the yardage figure setting a new Jags single-season standard by a tight end — and four touchdowns this season. Engram added 12 catches for 124 yards and a score in the playoffs, setting himself up for a nice payday. Engram said he wants that payday to come from the Jaguars. The team would prefer that arrangement as well.

Obviously, we would love to have Evan back,” Jags GM Trent Baalke said. “Evan and I visited [Monday], and he went around the building and visited with everybody. I think it’s mutual. Now we got to make it happen. That’s something that we’re going to work on with Evan, and all the other free agents that we have. We have a list of them that we got to mow down one at a time.”

With a new decision-maker in place for a third straight year, the Jags’ 2022 offseason veered toward adding outside talent rather than retaining their own. The team doled out historic free agency dollars to acquire a handful of vets, and that class moved the needle for a previously downtrodden team. Engram was among the names added, but the Ole Miss product’s one-year, $9MM deal did not exactly register on the same level the Christian Kirk or Brandon Scherff pacts did. But Engram will be seeking a raise ahead of his age-29 season.

Engram outperformed all three of last year’s franchise-tagged tight ends — David Njoku, Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki — and fulfilled some of the promise he showed as a rookie. Some injury trouble and bleak Giants offensive setups hindered Engram during his rookie contract, but now that he showed value in Doug Pederson‘s offense, targeting second-tier tight end money would make sense. Njoku and Dawson Knox each signed extensions in the $13MM-per-year range during the 2022 offseason; Engram can reasonably pursue a similar accord.

The Jags have Trevor Lawrence‘s rookie deal on their books for at least one more season, but they do now have three veteran receiver contracts on their books. Calvin Ridley‘s fifth-year option ($11.1MM) is now Jacksonville’s responsibility. The team signed Kirk for $18MM per year and Zay Jones at $8MM AAV. After holding considerable cap space going into the 2022 offseason, the Jags are projected to be $13MM-plus over the 2023 cap. The team also has right tackle Jawaan Taylor and edge rusher Arden Key due for free agency. Jacksonville will need to make some adjustments ahead of free agency, and Baalke said fans should not expect a spending spree close to last year’s effort.

The franchise tag will be a tool the Jags can use to keep Engram; it is expected to come in just north of $11MM. Baalke said he would prefer not to bring the tag into play, but the Jags both have a history of using it (most recently with Cam Robinson, twice). They also had struggled for a while to generate much production from the tight end spot. No Jags tight end since 2012 (Marcedes Lewis) came within 200 yards of Engram’s 2022 total. Considering Engram’s impact on Lawrence’s development, it should be expected the team will enter negotiations to retain the 6-foot-3 target soon.

Jaguars TE Evan Engram Open To Re-Signing With Team

The Jaguars signed tight end Evan Engram this offseason as part of a free agency splurge that also saw wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones added to the roster, along with guard Brandon Scherff (among others). Engram, who has enjoyed a productive first season in Duval, is open to a return on a long-term pact, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com writes.

Engram, 28, was a first-round pick of the Giants back in 2017. New York exercised his fifth-year option to keep him around for 2021, but after the club brought in a new GM (Joe Schoen) and head coach (Brian Daboll) this year, it was unclear whether Engram would be in Big Blue’s plans.

As it turned out, he was not, though it appears he drew considerable interest from other clubs. Multiple teams were reportedly preparing proposals with the idea of utilizing Engram as a slot receiver rather than as a tight end, and he may have had both one-year and multi-year pacts to choose from.

Per DiRocco, Engram only wanted a one-year contract so that he could reestablish his value after a difficult platform year with the Giants, and he felt he a had a good chance to do that in the TE-friendly offense of Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson. Buoyed by a monster Week 14 performance in which he posted 11 catches for 162 yards and three scores, Engram now has the fifth-most receiving yards among tight ends in 2022. His current 71.6% catch rate would represent a career-high, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence — who was effusive in his praise of Engram — has a 110.6 rating when throwing to him. The last time Engram’s QBs had a rating anywhere near that high was in 2018, which happened to be Eli Manning’s last full season with the Giants.

Pederson, who has indeed utilized Engram in the slot for a high percentage of his snaps, also believes the Ole Miss product has acquitted himself well as a run blocker (though the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus are less bullish in that regard, assigning Engram a mediocre 54.9 run-blocking grade). Both the head coach and the quarterback, it seems, would be happy to have Engram back in 2023 and beyond.

Of course, the financials will need to work for both sides. Spotrac presently believes Engram could land a two-year, $15MM contract on the open market, but after earning $9MM this year and with another salary cap spike on the horizon, it would not be surprising to see him shoot for a higher AAV, especially since he has shown he can thrive in the slot. The Jags, who have not had many productive pass-catching tight ends in their history, may be willing to overpay a bit to retain Engram.

“I would like to be back,” Engram said. “I’ve grown a lot in this year, on and off the field, and give credit to God for that, for putting the right people in my life, putting me in the right situations, the right place. It’s been a blast.”

Jaguars To Sign TE Evan Engram

The Jaguars continue to add to their offense. Jacksonville is signing tight end Evan Engram, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Jaguars To Sign Christian Kirk]

It’s a one-year deal worth $9MM, and the contract could be worth up to $10MM with incentives. PFF’s Doug Kyed tweets that the deal contains $8.25MM in guaranteed money, which includes a $3MM signing bonus and $5.25MM base salary. The tight end has $800K worth of reception and receiving yard incentives.

A first-round pick by the Giants in 2018, Engram had an inconsistent five years in New York. After missing 13 combined games between 2018 and 2019, Engram earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2020 after finishing with 63 receptions for 654 yards and one touchdown. However, his numbers took a step back in 2021, with the tight end finishing with 46 receptions for a career-low 408 receiving yards.

Still, those numbers would represent an upgrade at the position for the Jaguars. The team’s top receiving TE in 2021 was Dan Arnold, who finished with 28 receptions for 324 yards. Engram will join a tight ends depth chart that already includes Arnold, James O’Shaughnessy, Chris Manhertz, and Luke Farrell.

However, there’s a chance Engram doesn’t even line up as TE for his new squad. There were recent reports that teams were looking into Engram as a wide receiver, with the player’s combination of speed, agility, and size making him a potential matchup nightmare. We’ll see if that ends up being the case in Jacksonville. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post (on Twitter), the Colts, 49ers, and Bills were among the teams to express interest in Engram before he landed in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have been busy adding to their offense this afternoon. After agreeing to a deal with offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, the organization inked receiver Christian Kirk to a lucrative deal.

Cardinals, TE Zach Ertz Closing In On Deal

After acquiring tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Eagles in mid-October of last year, the Cardinals are finalizing a new multi-year deal for the nine-year veteran, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The three-year deal is set to keep the 31-year-old among the top-10 highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. 

Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowler who set the NFL-record for single-season receptions for a tight end in 2018 with 116 catches, which trailed only Saints’ receiver Michael Thomas for the league lead among all pass-catchers. Ertz was consistently productive in Philadelphia, recording five-straight seasons with at least 800 receiving yards.

After taking a back seat role to the Eagles’ younger tight end Dallas Goedert, the Cardinals made the move to acquire Ertz and watched him thrive in the new system. Ertz’s 11 games in Arizona in 2021 showed far more production than the 11 games he played in Philadelphia the year prior. With wide receivers Christian Kirk and A.J. Green set to hit the free agent market this week, locking down their tight end was a must.

The three-year deal will be worth $31.65MM with a guaranteed amount of $17.5MM. The annual average value of $10.55MM ranks 10th among NFL tight ends, just below David Njoku, Mike Gesicki, and Dalton Schultz, who got franchise tagged for $10.93MM. With this deal Ertz is now off the crowded tight end market, along with the three who were tagged. Remaining options for those looking for tight ends are C.J. Uzomah, Robert Tonyan, Evan Engram, and Will Dissly.

Latest On Giants’ Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram

With new management in place and a difficult cap situation to handle, there is sure to be plenty of roster turnover for the Giants in the coming days. Two of the biggest names to watch are Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, players whom the team have very different levels of interest in keeping. 

It was reported last week that the Giants are asking the former to take a significant pay cut as part of the team’s larger cost-cutting agenda. Dan Duggan of The Athletic reports, however, that the 29-year-old won’t accept the financial hit, at least to the degree the team has proposed (subscription required). His salary is currently set to be $8.5MM, but a drop all the way to the $1.1MM veteran minimum is therefore off the table.

Duggan adds that there is “mutual interest” for the former second-rounder to stay in New York, his only home in six seasons spent in the NFL. He reports that the parties “have been trying to find a middle ground” with regard to compensation so he can stay. When healthy, Shepard has been Daniel Jones‘ favorite target, but injury troubles (such as the torn Achilles he is currently rehabbing) have landed the wideout in this situation.

As for Engram, Duggan reiterates the notion that he is headed elsewhere in free agency. Whether teams view him as strictly a tight end, or as someone capable of lining up as a slot receiver will be key to how much his market develops. Duggan notes that he’s heard a wide range of possibilities for the 27-year-old in terms of the value of a new contract, from a short-term deal around $7MM or $8MM, to the longer, more valuable pacts signed by the likes of Jonnu Smith last year. Interestingly, he names the Bills as potentially being “a top suitor for Engram”.

With more work to be done to get under the cap, there are still plenty of moving parts for the Giants to handle. The situations with Shepard and Engram will go a long way to determining the rest of the team’s offseason, and in turn, their long-term roster re-tooling.

Latest On Giants’ Evan Engram

Teams have interest in Giants tight end Evan Engram as a slot WR, in addition to his native tight end position (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). With that, Engram’s market could be shaping up to be even stronger than previously expected. 

[RELATED: Giants Likely To Target Trubisky]

Engram has plus speed and agility for a tight end, so these teams believe that he’d be a matchup nightmare as a WR3. The Giants, meanwhile, seem to have cooled on the idea of keeping him. The new regime won’t break the bank to retain the former Pro Bowler, which means that he’ll likely be moving on when free agency opens next week.

Engram, a 2017 first-round pick, has had a rocky five years with the Giants. Limited to just 19 games between 2018 and ’19, he turned in a healthy and productive 2020. That year, he played in all 16 games and tallied 63 catches for 654 yards and one touchdown (plus a rushing TD), earning his first Pro Bowl nod. He stayed healthy for the most part last year, though his numbers sagged along with everyone else on the G-Men. Last year, he finished out with 45 catches, a career-low 404 receiving yards, and just three TDs.

Now that Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki have received the franchise tag, Engram profiles as a top-tier TE in this year’s class, along with Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz. Unlike those veterans, Engram offers youth and, perhaps, is the only one versatile or willing enough to line up in the slot.

Giants Notes: Jones, Barkley, Engram

Giants GM Joe Schoen recently told reporters that no decision has been made with respect to QB Daniel Jones‘ fifth-year option for 2023, which must be exercised or declined by May 2. “We haven’t been around him other than a couple weeks,” Schoen said (via Mike Florio of PFT). “Again, we’re going to take our time with the process. We’re going to be around Daniel. We’re going to get the chance to see him throw and work with the guys that we have. … We’re going to be patient with that decision.”

New York is interested in signing free agent passer Mitchell Trubisky and having him compete with Jones for the starting job in 2022. Given that, and given Jones’ struggles over his first three professional seasons, it would be surprising if Schoen were to pick up Jones’ option, which is worth a fully-guaranteed $21.3MM.

Now for more from Big Blue:

  • When asked about the possibility of trading RB Saquon Barkley, Schoen did not rule it out. However, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes, Schoen would have to be floored to make a deal. Although the Giants are obviously in rebuild mode, they also want to field a competitive team and surround Jones or any other passer with enough talent to fairly evaluate their QB situation. Furthermore, Barkley’s “strong preference” is to stay with New York, and Dunleavy’s sources believe that if the Giants were to trade him now, they shouldn’t expect much more than a fourth-round pick in return.
  • Before Schoen was hired, it was reported that the Giants were unlikely to break the bank to retain tight end and pending FA Evan Engram. We have not heard anything to suggest otherwise now that Schoen is in charge of personnel, which means that Engram is poised to hit the open market. As Dunleavy tweets, some interested teams are looking to utilize Engram more as a slot receiver and are preparing proposals with that goal in mind.
  • Georgia DE Travon Walker was one of the biggest winners at the scouting combine, putting on a display that solidified his position as one of the top D-linemen in the class. The fact that he was asked to fill a variety of roles along the Bulldogs’ defensive front limited his sack production, but his athletic traits are hard to beat, and ESPN draftnik Jordan Reid believes Walker might now be a top-five choice (subscription required). Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com suggests that the Giants may consider Walker with their No. 5 or No. 7 overall selections (Twitter link).

Latest On TE Evan Engram’s Future With Giants

Assuming Evan Engram is able to generate some interest in free agency this offseason, the tight end’s stint in New York has likely come to an end. As Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes, the Giants won’t break the bank to retain the former Pro Bowler.

Since being selected in the first round of the 2017 draft, Engram has had an up-and-down five seasons with the Giants. After being limited to only 19 games between 2018 and 2019, he managed to stay healthy in 2020, appearing in 16 games (14 starts) while hauling in 63 receptions for 654 receiving yards en route to a Pro Bowl nod.

The 27-year-old has managed to stay relatively healthy again in 2021, but his numbers have suffered thanks (in part) to inconsistent quarterback play. In 14 games, Engram has 45 catches for a career-low 404 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The Giants were willing to pick up Engram’s fifth-year option for 2021, but they haven’t made any moves on an extension. It seemed pretty clear that the tight end was probably on his way out of the New York when his name surfaced in trade rumors earlier this season. Engram will be part of a free agent tight ends class that also features Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki, and vets like Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz. Even if Engram isn’t atop the FA list, Vacchiano still opines that the player could command a contract worth $8MM per season. If that’s the case, the Giants won’t match.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Gregory, Fitzpatrick

Jabrill Peppers‘ torn ACL will keep him sidelined for the rest of the 2021 campaign, and considering his expiring contract, there’s a chance his stint with the Giants has effectively come to an end. However, head coach Joe Judge kept the door open when speaking with reporters on Wednesday.

“Look, this guy is in a contract year, it’s something I’ve talked to him about directly,” Judge said (h/t to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s a guy that I value a lot in this program. I’d love to have this guy going forward, I’ve told him that directly. He’s been a very good leader for us. You can talk about him being local, that the Giants mean something to him. I think that’s very important. He’s a guy that loves football, he loves this organization, he loves this area. Those are things we talk about building as cornerstones and pillars of this program and he’s a very important part of our program.”

The safety started five of his six games this season, compiling 29 tackles and one sack. Considering Peppers’ contract status, his reduced playing time, and continued trade rumblings, there was a chance the veteran would be traded prior to his injury. The ACL injury certainly changed things, and Peppers could pursue a comeback with his current team.

More notes out of the NFC East…

  • With the Giants sitting at 2-5, it wouldn’t be a surprise if several Giants veterans end up hitting the trade block. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv explored which players could be on the move, with tight end Evan Engram, cornerback James Bradberry, guard Will Hernandez, tight end Kyle Rudolph, and offensive tackle Nate Solder earning spots on the list. Vacchiano even goes as far as to list running back Saquon Barkley as a potential trade candidate, but he can’t envision the Giants receiving a haul that would convince them to bail on the former second-overall pick.
  • Randy Gregory has dealt with his fair share of suspensions, but the former Cowboys second-round pick followed an impressive 2020 campaign with an even better start to the 2021 season. In five games (four starts), Gregory has collected four sacks. The 28-year-old will hit free agency following the 2021 season, but David Moore, Calvin Watkins, and Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News all believe that the defensive end will be back next season. Moore notes that the team wouldn’t have held on to Gregory for all these years if they didn’t plan on a long-term pact, while Watkins cautions that the franchise tag could prove to be a risky move considering Gregory’s limited track record.
  • There was once some hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be back by now, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that Washington Football Team will have to wait a bit longer. The 38-year-old is still weeks away from returning, with Week 10 being the earliest possible return for the starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation back in September, forcing Taylor Heinicke into the lineup.

Giants’ Evan Engram Drawing Trade Interest

One of the few Jerry Reese-era additions still on the Giants, Evan Engram is in a contract year. With the Giants in a position to be sellers ahead of another trade deadline, Engram’s name has come up around the league.

Multiple teams are interested in the fifth-year Giants tight end, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano (ESPN+ link). Engram’s sluggish start to the season notwithstanding, certain teams remain intrigued by the former first-round pick’s skill set.

After missing two games to start the season, Engram has totaled just 171 receiving yards on 20 catches. Although we are less than halfway through the season, Engram’s 8.6-yard average checks in far below his previous career-low mark. Ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline, the Giants will be faced with a decision.

New York is deep at wide receiver, though the team is currently dealing with a number of injuries at that spot, but does not have a long-term tight end. No extension talks are known to have taken place this year; Engram was eyeing a bounce-back season to generate a strong 2022 free agency market. The Giants also rejected Engram overtures before last year’s trade deadline. Big Blue has traded several pieces from the Reese era in recent years. In addition to the offseason moves that sent away Jason Pierre-Paul, Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon, the Giants dealt Eli Apple and Damon Harrison before the 2018 deadline.

Engram, 27, is playing on a manageable fifth-year option salary that contains a balance of less than $4MM. He was a somewhat surprising Pro Bowl selection last year, after hauling in 63 passes for 654 yards and a touchdown. But the former Ole Miss standout has not quite lived up to his first-round pedigree during his Big Apple stay.