The Giants need a big season out of Golden Tate to help cope with the loss of Odell Beckham, but his suspension really puts New York’s season in jeopardy.
There’s a lot of pressure on the Giants’ receiving corps to step up in the absence of Odell Beckham this season. Golden Tate was brought in via free agency to serve as the leader of that group. Unfortunately for the Giants, he’s only going to give them a maximum of 12 games this season.
That’s because Tate has been suspended four games by the NFL for a violation of the Performance Enhancing Substance Policy. The veteran wideout does plan to appeal the suspension and believes he has a “legitimate case.” If his appeal proves unsuccessful it’s going to be a massive blow to the Giants’ hopes of staying relevant in 2019.
Tate’s suspension comes on top of a troubling thumb injury sustained by the team’s other projected starter at wide receiver. Sterling Shepard’s injured thumb has his status for the regular season opener in question. The thought of going into Week 1 without Tate or Shepard on the field should give head coach Pat Shurmur nightmares.
Losing Tate for any extended period of time is only going to heap more pressure onto Saquon Barkley to give this offense afloat. Neither Eli Manning or Daniel Jones is going to serve as a dynamic presence at the quarterback position. That means all of the Giants skill players will need to play at a high level to make up for their mediocre play under center. This offense will do their best to rely on a heavy dose of running the football no matter who lines up at wide receiver on a weekly basis.
That doesn’t mean the Giants can stand pat at wide receiver while Tate is unavailable. His suspension, combined with the injury to Shepard means that GM Dave Gettleman needs to look for help outside the organization. At the very least, New York needs to acquire a veteran wideout who can help cover some of Tate’s production during any potential suspension. It will be interesting to see whether or not Gettleman entertains the idea of a trade to strengthen his suddenly weak group of wide receivers.
The Giants have a ton of question marks heading into the season, and the uncertainty surrounding Tate will only make staying competitive more difficult when the regular season begins. It’s hard to imagine the team’s offseason getting off to a more ominous start.