The New York Giants are set to embark on their most important offseason in recent memory. The decisions made by general manager Dave Gettleman this spring will be critical in determining whether Big Blue can continue confidently on their current path, or if they’ll have to press the reset button once again. With that in mind, let’s examine the potential free agents that could propel this team to playoff contention.
Today, let’s focus on Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V.
Fuller is a five-year NFL veteran with a well-established big-play track record. He’s averaged a whopping 14.9 yards per reception in his career, with an impressive 70.5% catch-rate over his last three years. The Notre Dame product’s major blemish thus far has been injury, as he’s yet to play a full season. He only played 42 of a possible 64 games over his first four years. In 2020, he was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performing-enhancing substances. All that missed time has curtailed his volume production. Fuller has yet to have a thousand-yard campaign, topping out at 879 yards this past season.
There are three words that best describe Fuller’s game: speed, speed, and speed. He ran a blazing 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, and it shows up on the football field. Fuller is no stranger to just burning past cornerbacks on go-routes for huge splash plays. His deep speed often forces opposing defenses to deploy high-safety looks, which opens up room for other receivers on the intermediate level. Even when defenders have been able to stick with him, Fuller has shown a good ability to make contested catches.
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The Giants’ popgun offense is in no position to turn its nose up at Fuller’s big-play potential. But his particular brand of speed-demonry is similar to what New York already has in Darius Slayton. Fuller would essentially take Slayton’s role in the offense, which would severely hamper Slayton’s ability to develop. What the Giants really crave is a true number-one wideout that can get open consistently and command double-teams. For as explosive as Fuller is, that’s not a role he would adequately fill.
Spotrac estimates Fuller’s market value at $16.9 million annually. That would put him just above Mike Evans as one of the top-ten highest paid receivers in football. Fuller’s raw production wouldn’t suggest that status, but his ability to open up the rest of the offense with his deep-speed is what would garner that kind of money. New York could definitely afford to fit him in their books, especially in light of recent reports that the salary cap will be a bit higher than expected.
Should the Giants be interested?
No way, Jose. Even putting aside his red-flag-raising PED suspension, Fuller should not be on New York’s list of priority free agents. His style of play is not the element that Big Blue’s offense is most lacking. There are other wideouts which would fit the Giants’ needs more snugly that can be had at a comparable price. If for some reason a market doesn’t materialize for Fuller, the Giants can consider signing him to relatively cheap, short-term deal. But Gettleman should definitely pursue other options rather than pay Fuller in full.