After seeing their 2022 receiver plan implode, the Giants made a number of moves to address the position this offseason. They added outside free agents Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder (since cut) while re-signing Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Both Shepard and 2022 second-rounder Wan’Dale Robinson made their way back from ACL tears this year. Big Blue, which retained Isaiah Hodgins via ERFA tender, also drafted Jalin Hyatt in Round 3. But trade pickup Darren Waller stands as the team’s most proven pass catcher. As the Giants have looked like one of the NFL’s worst teams, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano notes they came into this season viewing their receiver situation as unsettled to the point they hoped Waller and Saquon Barkley could cover it up early in the campaign.
Injuries along the offensive line — after a woeful debut with a mostly healthy offense in Week 1 — have helped sink the Giants to 1-4. Daniel Jones is out for Week 6, and the starter has struggled, leaving any receiver upgrades as largely irrelevant to start the season. The Giants do not have notable cash committed to wideouts beyond this season, being able to escape Slayton’s two-year, $12MM deal fairly easily. The Giants, who rank 32nd in total offense, have only seen one of their wideouts — Slayton — eclipse 110 receiving yards this season. It appears clear rebuilding this group will end up a multiyear project for GM Joe Schoen.
Here is the latest from the NFC East:
- The Commanders‘ defense ranks 31st in points allowed through five games. Although it is early, that is a steep drop-off from its 2022 finish (seventh). The team allowed 40 points to the previously winless Bears, and its narrow wins over the struggling Cardinals and Broncos do not look especially good. That said, the team’s new ownership has not applied early-season pressure on Ron Rivera, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. Josh Harris is being patient with Rivera and Co., and while Anderson adds some of the others in Washington’s ownership group do not necessarily share this stance, Dan Snyder‘s successor is allowing this to play out for now. Rivera confirmed (via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala) no staff changes are taking place.
- Nicholas Morrow has played well in relief of Nakobe Dean, grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 overall linebacker. The former Raiders and Bears starter has tallied 33 tackles and three sacks. But a backup job may be in the cards once Dean is activated from IR. The Eagles should be considered likelier to reinstall Dean as a starter over returning the 2022 third-round pick to a backup role, AllPhly.com’s Zach Berman notes. Dean suffered a foot injury in Week 1, but the Eagles let Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards walk this offseason with the intent on bumping the 2021 Butkus award winner into the starting lineup. Zach Cunningham, who signed with the Eagles during training camp, resides as the team’s other ILB starter.
- Dean’s former Georgia teammate, Jalen Carter is not yet a starter. But the No. 9 overall pick has validated the Eagles’ decision to stop his first-round slide, having totaled 3.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles through five games. PFF’s top-graded interior D-lineman, Carter slipped in the draft due to off-field matters. Most notably, the standout D-tackle’s arrest warrant for reckless driving and racing — at a scene in which two Georgia program members died in a car accident — led to a few teams passing in Round 1. The Eagles had Carter as the highest-rated player on their board, per ESPN’s Tim McManus, though the NFC champions were not certain he would fall far enough. The Seahawks were high on Carter’s talent but did not feel they had the leadership necessary to make the pick at No. 5, while McManus notes the Eagles felt their veterans and previous Georgia investments (Dean, Jordan Davis) would help keep Carter in line. We had heard about some Georgia coaches passing on endorsing Carter, citing effort and attitude, and McManus notes the DT punching then-teammate Quay Walker in 2020 contributed to this.