NFL free agency: Kenny Golladay could be Giants’ new version of Plaxico Burress

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Back in March of 2005, the Giants got busy in free agency, signing middle linebacker Antonio Pierce and right tackle Kareem McKenzie, two players who became fixtures on their triumphant Super Bowl XLII team.

After securing those two players, the Giants were not done. They pursued Plaxico Burress, the tall, explosive wide receiver from the Steelers, and were so intent on adding him as a target for Eli Manning that general manager Ernie Accorsi first announced they were breaking off negotiations with Burress, only to revisit talks once he hired a new agent.

The deal got done: Six years, $25 million. Two years later, Burress caught the winning touchdown pass to beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl.

As the head of the pro personnel department back then, Dave Gettleman had a keen eye on the talent around the NFL and who would fit best with what Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff wanted on the field. Gettleman was convinced Burress could be a missing piece to the offensive puzzle, and he was proven to be correct in that assessment.

In many ways, Kenny Golladay — the top receiver in this year’s free agency class — is similar to Burress, and the Giants certainly have interest in adding Golladay to their sagging offense, providing Daniel Jones with a top weapon. Golladay will have many suitors and his price tag will soar above $20 million per year. The Giants most likely will not be able to fit him into their salary cap, as they were only about $4 million below the $182.5 million threshold, but expected to add as much as $10 million with the restructuring of Nate Solder’s contract. They would greatly add to their cap space if they can come to terms on a multi-year contract with defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who is on the books for the entire $19.4 million franchise tag. There are no indications a deal is imminent.

Gettleman could be looking at Golladay as a player capable of doing for Jones what Burress did for Manning. The comparisons are there to be made.

Burress signed with the Giants when he was 27 years old, after five seasons with the Steelers. He averaged 52 receptions, 4.4 touchdowns per year and 83 yards per game.  He had two 1,000-yard seasons.

Golladay is 27 years old. In his four seasons with the Lions, he averaged 45.8 receptions and 5.3 touchdowns per year and 76.7 yards per game. He has two 1,000-yard seasons.  

Burress stood 6-foot-5, providing a tall target. Golladay is 6-foot-4.  

One caveat with Golladay: He was limited to only five games in 2020 with a hip injury. He should be fully healed, though, and will cash in very soon. The Giants are probably going to get out-bid for his services. But you never know.

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