NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is two better than one? The Giants are going to find out.
According to multiple reports, Big Blue is finalizing a four-year, $41 million contract extension with wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who often played second fiddle behind the since-traded Odell Beckham Jr.
Shepard, it’s safe to say, is now going to be asked to do a lot more.
The deal, when completed, is expected to pay the 25-year-old wideout $21.3 million in guaranteed money.
Shepard was a solid pro during his first three NFL seasons, catching 190 passes for 2,286 yards and 14 touchdowns in 43 games. That said, the Giants sorely need to make up for the production Beckham took with him to Cleveland in the shocking trade that landed New York a first-round draft pick, a third-rounder and young safety Jabrill Peppers.
New York eased the blow of Beckham’s departure only minimally by signing veteran Golden Tate to a four-year, $37.5 million free agent contract. The 30-year-old wideout has been a model of consistency since breaking into the league in 2010, averaging 68 receptions and 802 yards per season. However, he’s not the game-breaking, TD-scoring type that Beckham is.
So, the Giants are effectively trying to get No. 1 receiver production from two players.
Equally as important, it appears the Giants are interested in having solid citizens and fewer headaches in tow while trying to move forward with what is becoming a massive rebuild. Shepard has often been lauded for his workmanlike demeanor, a trait head coach Pat Shurmur appreciates.
The pressure on Shepard and Tate will be enormous, considering starting quarterback Eli Manning is 38 and threw only 21 touchdown passes last season with Beckham in the lineup for 12 games. What’s more, the collection of targets the Giants currently have behind Shepard, Tate and tight end Evan Engram consists of Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, Alonzo Russell, Jawill Davis and Brittan Golden, who combined for 46 catches in 2018.