Kenny Golladay entered the NFL free agency as one of the hottest names on the market. After the Detroit Lions opted against placing a franchise tag on the former Pro Bowler, fans and pundits expected Golladay to garner tons of offers.
As it turns out, the complete opposite is happening.
So far, anyway.
Since entering the opening market, Golladay’s name has seemingly cooled off. There were talks of him landing with the Jaguars, Giants, Patriots, and Eagles. However, several teams made splashes on wide receivers in free agency on Tuesday.
And in pure irony, Golladay’s former teammate landed a deal with a team that reportedly had intentions to sign Golladay himself.
In addition to picking up Shaquill Griffin to help their secondary, the Jaguars inked Marvin Jones. Jones, who reportedly wanted to sign with a contender, agreed to a two-year, $14.5 million contract with the Jaguars. Also, following Jones to the Jags is Jamal Agnew. Just like Jones, Agnew is bolting the Lions after the Jags inked him on a three-year, $21 million deal. Both players will reunite with their newly-hired Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, their OC, during their stint with the Lions.
While the Jaguars have more moves to make in free agency, it’s safe to surmise that they’re probably out of the Kenny Golladay sweepstakes.
Then there’s the Patriots.
After going 7-9 last season and missing the playoffs, there was an expectation the Patriots would revamp their offense. And they did exactly that, spending over $200 million in free agency on players from other teams. After re-signing Cam Newton to a one-year, $14 million deal, they added two of the best tight ends in free agency. The Patriots inked Jonnu Smith on a four-year, $50 million contract. They then turned around and signed Hunter Henry for three years, $37.5 million. To round out things, they landed Nelson Agholor on a two-year, $26 million deal.
Again, no sign of Golladay nor mention of him.
Lastly, there’s the New York Giants.
There was much talk of the Giants being the number one landing spot for Golladay’s services. And for great reason too. The Giants are definitely in need of help at the wide receiver position.
Well, they addressed it yesterday.
The Giants signed former Bengals wideout John Ross to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Signing Ross doesn’t take the Giants out of the Golladay conversation. However, it does raise eyebrows, especially since the Giants were not shy about spending money on Tuesday. The G-Men inked Leonard Williams to a three-year, $63 million deal with $42 million guaranteed.
On Twitter, Giants’ fans questioned many NFL insiders about when the Giants would announce a Golladay signing, as few reports stated a deal was imminent.
As it turns out, that is far from the case.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted that “the idea that the Giants are going all-out for Kenny Golladay at all costs is incorrect.” The tweet states that teams have questions about him and only want to land him at a specific price.
And there are several reasons why this could be the case.
For starters, Golladay saw limited action during the 2020 season due to a hamstring injury. He only played in five games, catching 20 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, while in limited action, there were concerns about Golladay’s behavior.
Sources confirmed to Woodward Sports that Golladay demonstrated “questionable” behavior behind closed doors last year, which rubbed some teammates the wrong way. Specifically, there was mention that Golladay was not happy about his contract situation with the Lions.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week on the network’s morning show, Get Up, that Golladay turned down a long-term extension from the Lions that would’ve paid him $18-$19 million annually.
Also working against Golladay is his representation. Like Golladay, wideouts such as Will Fuller and Curtis Samuel are currently free agents looking for a new deal. However, that’s not the only thing they have in common. The same agency represents all three wideouts, something that can backfire on Golladay.
The NFL Network reported that Golladay’s now looking at commanding only $14-16 million per season. That is around the same market value that Spotrac projects for Fuller and a little bit above what Samuel should command.
One thing working in Golladay’s favor is that Steelers wideout Juju Smith-Schuster has not inked a deal yet. Like Golladay, there are concerns about Smith-Schuster’s conduct. There is not much chatter on where he could head to, but Smith-Schuster is reportedly telling teammates he’s gone. With both wideouts seemingly in the same boat, Smith-Schuster landing a deal before Golladay would be very telling.
And not in a good way for the potential-former Lion.
It is still very early in free agency. Teams are still making moves to clear cap space and land marquee players. So there is no reason for Kenny Golladay to panic yet. Despite that, if he winds up signing a contract for less than what he reportedly turned down, he might have played himself.