EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay didn’t really like coach Brian Daboll’s decision to play him for just two snaps in Sunday’s 19-16 win over the Panthers from Carolina.
“Of course I don’t really agree with it. Or I like it,” Golladay, who spoke to the media for the first time since the game, said on Wednesday. “But I can only control what I can control, which is coming to work every day.”
Golladay, the Giants’ prized free agent acquisition in 2021, didn’t see that coming. He said everyone in the organization told him he was a pro and did things the right way.
This makes it all quite confusing for Golladay.
“I should play regardless,” he said. “That’s a fact.”
Golladay, 28, was supposed to be the Giants’ No. 1 receiver when he was signed by the previous regime last offseason. He signed a four-year, $72 million contract and is paid $18 million this season.
But Golladay had a tough first year with the team during which he was hampered by injury and failed to score a touchdown. He had a procedure that kept him out this spring.
The signs were actually on the wall this summer when – despite being constantly on the pitch – Golladay seemed compromised by the string of injuries. He was surprisingly one of the few veterans to play in the preseason finale, and he caught two passes for 22 yards on 42 snaps (most among Giants wide receivers) in the season opener. the season against the Tennessee Titans.
Daboll said he told Golladay midway through last week that he was leaving with David Sills V against the Panthers. Sills entered the contest with two career catches for 17 yards. He earns $825,000 this season.
Golladay has 222 receptions for 3,611 yards and 21 career touchdowns. He led all receivers in 2019 with 11 receiving scores. But it’s not beyond reason to think he lost a step. Golladay has two touchdown receptions and less than 900 receiving yards in the two-plus seasons since.
The veteran receiver was asked about his request for a change of scenery after being benched for most of Sunday’s game.
“We’ll see how it goes. Yeah, we’ll see how it goes,” Golladay said. “I came here to play. I’m pretty sure they pay me to play too. I guess they want to see more or get whatever is on their side. I just keep doing what I have to do with regard to entry each day.”
It seems unlikely that Golladay could be moved at this point, partly due to the lack of production and his contract. He still owes $11.6 million in base salary for the remainder of this season and another $4.5 million next year.
It’s no problem to keep it for now. Daboll and several Giants players told ESPN he handled it like a pro.
“It is what it is. It’s a business,” Golladay said. “I’m not here to be friends with the coaches. They are just colleagues to me.”
Daboll has always said wide receiver is open competition and serious. Richie James leads the Giants with 10 catches and 110 receiving yards.
James was an off-season acquisition that many thought was on the roster bubble. Sills worked his way into the team.
Daboll has used the same line about the competition from the start. He took a similar stance when Golladay was one of the few veterans to play in the third and final preseason game. It was also his reasoning behind last year’s first-round pick Kadarius Toney playing just seven snaps in Game 1 and Golladay barely entering the field against the Panthers.
“It’s an ongoing competition at receiver. I’ve been saying this since when? I’m not a jerk, I’ve been saying this since the middle of camp, right?” Daboll said on Sunday. “That hasn’t changed. It will be an ongoing competition.”
He added on Monday: “Again, whether it’s the highest paid player, the lowest paid player, the highest draft pick, an undrafted free agent – we’re going to go for it and let the guys get away with it. one week doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s going to happen next week. I think everyone understands what we’re trying to do as an organization in terms of continuing to improve, to compete for places, to work as hard as possible.
Daboll doesn’t play favorites based on salary or draft status, and that has caught his team’s attention.
“It’s rare, but the coach always told us he didn’t care where you were drafted in the first round, second round, undrafted. He talks about what he talks about,” the receiver said. veteran Sterling Shepard.
Shepard has played the most snaps (102) of any Giants wide receiver so far this season. He is coming out of an Achilles tear suffered last season. Sills is second with 91.
If Golladay has a role this season, it will have to be earned, not given based on past accomplishments. This new regime is unrelated to Golladay, who was the Lions’ third-round pick in 2017.
Golladay was optimistic about how Wednesday’s practice would go. He said he thought his role this week would probably be a little different.
The Giants (2-0) may need him more Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Toney sat out practice on Wednesday due to a lingering hamstring injury.