DECEMBER 31: It only took two days into the 21-day practice window for the Giants to activate McKinney. McKinney should resume his starting role next to Love, sending Pinnock back to the bench after five weeks of substitute responsibilities. It’s unclear, though, whether or not McKinney will also resume his signal-calling duties on defense for New York, duties Love took over when McKinney was placed on IR.
To make room for McKinney on the active roster, the Giants waived wide receiver David Sills. Sills has started five games this year at wideout for New York but only contributed 11 catches for 106 yards in nine total games. In addition to those corresponding roster moves, the Giants promoted tight end Chris Myarick and cornerback Zyon Gilbert from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s matchup against the Colts.
The Giants have been without McKinney since their Week 9 bye, during which the starter suffered a broken hand in an ATV accident. McKinney is not expected to play against the Colts this week, but the Giants will get a look to see if he can contribute in Week 18 and/or in the playoffs. In designating McKinney to return from the reserve/NFI list, the Giants will have three weeks to activate him.
A 2020 second-round pick out of Alabama, McKinney has dealt with injuries during his first and third NFL seasons. He missed most of his rookie year because of a broken foot suffered that August. The ATV accident this year has sidelined him for the Giants’ past seven games. With the team being without top cornerback Adoree’ Jackson for much of that span, the Giants’ secondary has faced tall tasks weekly.
Jason Pinnock is expected to remain the starter alongside Julian Love against the Colts. If the Giants beat the Colts, they are assured of a playoff berth — which would be the franchise’s first in six years. Brian Daboll did not guarantee McKinney would miss this matchup, but it sounds like Week 18 is a better bet for a return to action. McKinney’s accident occurred in Mexico. He had pins removed from his fingers earlier this month but will wear a contraption (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) upon returning.
McKinney has made 28 career starts, breaking through last season with a five-interception campaign. Pro Football Focus has not viewed his 2022 work on that level, slotting him 74th among safeties — behind Pinnock — but the former No. 36 overall pick remains a key part of a Giants secondary that already looked thin before this season’s run of injuries. The team rostered Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan alongside McKinney over the past two years; both are now elsewhere.