Giants’ Kenny Golladay vs. Jets’ Corey Davis: Which team made better signing?

The Giants and the Jets both made free-agent splashes at wide receiver over the last week. Now, we get to watch for the next few years to see who made the better decision. The Giants signed Kenny

The Giants and the Jets both made free-agent splashes at wide receiver over the last week. Now, we get to watch for the next few years to see who made the better decision.

The Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million contract with $40 million guaranteed on Saturday. They grabbed the receiver most observers rated as the best available in free agency. At $18 million per year, there are questions about whether they overpaid, but if it helps quarterback Daniel Jones develop, no one will be worrying about the money in three years.

The Jets struck quickly last Monday when the negotiating window opened, locking up Corey Davis with a three-year, $37.5 million contract that includes $27 million guaranteed.

Both teams sorely needed an upgrade at wide receiver to aid their young quarterbacks. This market set up perfectly for them since there were more good receivers available than usual thanks to the decreasing salary cap. Even after Allen Robinson (Bears) and Chris Godwin (Buccaneers) were given the franchise tag, the Giants and Jets had good options.

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman decided to shop at Tiffany’s and sign the most expensive receiver on the market to give Jones a new No. 1 target. The move comes with some risk because Golladay only played five games last season for the Lions and now has the pressure of living up to his contract.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas considered Golladay too expensive and instead targeted Davis. The Jets like his fit with their offense and think he is entering his prime. Davis was the No. 5-overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Titans, so he has lived with pressure for his entire NFL career. The new contract won’t add to that. The Jets have not had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2015 and need someone to help whoever their quarterback is in 2021 whether it is Sam Darnold or Zach Wilson or someone else.

Kenny Golladay and Corey Davis’ deals will be judged against each other for the next several years.
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Comparing the two receivers, Golladay has had more production but his 2020 season raises some questions. Golladay has had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons and has 21 career touchdowns. His best season was 2019 when he had 65 catches for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. A hip injury kept Golladay sidelined for all but five games last year and there were some questions about how hard he tried to return to the field. Clearly, the Giants got satisfactory answers on those issues during his visit.

Davis was considered a disappointment in Tennessee after being selected so high in the draft and then struggling early. Davis only has 11 career touchdowns. Golladay did that in one season. But Davis had his best season last year. He caught 65 passes for 984 yards and five touchdowns. The main question about Davis is how he will do outside of the talented Tennessee offense. He was getting passes from Ryan Tannehill, who has become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. The Titans also had A.J. Brown on the opposite side of Davis and Derrick Henry in the backfield to give them a strong running game and help set up play-action passes.

If you look at Pro Football Focus grades from the past three seasons, Davis had the best season of the two. His 2020 grade of 85.3 ranked 10th out of 127 wide receivers. Golladay had an 81.0 grade in 2018, which was 21st out of 118 receivers. Golladay had a 79.9 grade in 2019 and did not qualify in 2020. Davis had a 70.4 grade in 2019 and 76.4 in 2018.

We will probably have a good answer in two years about which signing was better. Davis’ contract has no guaranteed money beyond 2022, so the Jets can move on if he disappoints. Golladay’s contract is more of a three-year commitment in terms of when the Giants could comfortably move on.

The Giants made a much bigger financial commitment than the Jets. Not just in terms of guaranteed money — $40 million versus $27 million — but also in annual average value. Golladay’s $18 million per year AAV is tied for sixth among receivers. Davis’ $12.5 million is 20th.

Both teams believe they got better at receiver in the last week. Now, we’ll get to see if they are right and who made the best decision.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Brian Costello

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