With Odell Beckham Jr. gone, the Giants are left with a big void to fill in the passing game. But will Sterling Shepard make the leap to No. 1 receiver, or will Golden Tate truly be his replacement? Here's a closer look at what to expect in training camp...
Projected Starters: Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer
Projected Backups: Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Darius Slayton
On the Bubble: Bennie Fowler, Reggie White Jr., Alonzo Russell, Brittan Golden, Alex Wesley
Departures: Odell Beckham Jr., Jawill Davis
Fresh off his season-ending surgery, Beckham was ready to make his comeback with an exclamation point. The Giants believed that was going to be a case, as they dished out a massive five-year, $90 million extension which made him the NFL's highest-paid wideout.
And while he did produce 1,052 yards on 77 catches with six touchdowns, Beckham wasn't short of controversy during the season yet again.
It began in the beginning of the season during his infamous ESPN interview with Josina Anderson where he didn't shoot down the notion that the Giants have a quarterback problem, leaving Eli Manning out to dry. Head coach Pat Shurmur made Beckham apologize for his comments, but it was something that lingered with the team for several weeks. Then, Beckham couldn't finish the final four games of the season, with a persistent quad injury forcing him out.
After he finished his fifth season, the rumor mill began to spew out Beckham's name. Of course, this happened after the 2017 season with Beckham about to finish his rookie contract, and no word came of extension talks. But, now that the Giants extended him, there was no way they would trade him right?
GM Dave Gettleman shocked everyone in the biggest trade of the offseason, sending Beckham to the Browns in exchange for Jabrill Peppers, the No. 17 overall pick, and a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants may have had their qualms with No. 13, but he was arguably the best playmaker they've had in franchise history.
The Giants were swift, though, in filling his void by bringing in Tate. The veteran has great yards after the catch numbers to go along with very reliable hands. But the Giants also have faith that Sterling Shepard can take a big leap in his fourth season. They gave him an extension before this season -- a four-year, $41 million deal.
Shepard had his best season with the Giants in 2018, tallying 872 yards on 66 catches with four touchdowns. The Giants will hope these two, very similar new teammates can work well together in Shurmur's offense.
Latimer and Fowler both return for the Giants as well as Coleman, the former first-rounder the team is hoping can live up to that selection.
Biggest question heading into camp
This group has an obvious big question: Who will replace Beckham at the No. 1 receiver.
Shepard seems to be the favorite at the moment, as that contract extension would suggest. He has spent a year in Shurmur's system, developed the chemistry with Manning, and would be the obvious next man up having been behind Beckham since coming into the league.
However, Tate has the experience on Shepard, and they are virtually the same receiver when it comes to their strengths on the gridiron. If Manning is finding success with Tate early on, he could have his eyes peered for him when looking for someone downfield. During his time with the Seahawks and Lions, Tate was never the top option in the receivers room, so maybe he is gunning for that spot now.
Another smaller question would be how Shurmur deploys these two receivers given their similar style of play. Both thrive in the slot, but one -- if not both -- will have to play on the outside. Shurmur should toy around with different setups during preseason, but that's also something to keep an eye out for.
Simply put, no one is match Beckham's production. He's a Top 5 receiver in the league that Manning picked on constantly to make a play.
Could Shepard or Tate reach 1,000 yards? There's potential, but this wide receivers group will be among just some of the options that will be utilized in the passing game. Manning will surely spread things around with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram also at the top of the target list.
The Giants do have some depth here, though, which is always good. Latimer is returning as someone looking to makeup for the time lost from injury last season. He had a strong finish. Others like Coleman and Fowler as well as rookies Slayton and White will like to impress at training camp to make the 53-man.
But, for this group, it will be Shepard and Tate working hand-in-hand to lead the way.