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New York Giants 2024 Training Camp Preview: WR Darius Slayton



New York Giants 2024 Training Camp Preview: WR Darius Slayton

Look up “team player” in the dictionary, and chances are you’ll find a picture of New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton next to the definition.

Slayton, a fifth-round draft pick out of Auburn in 2019, can teach some of the league primadonnas about playing it right. All he’s done is keep his mouth closed, show up for work, and produce to the best of his abilities when given the chance.

Take, for instance, his rookie season when the now 27-year-old finished as the team leader in receiving yardage (the first of four times he’d do so over his career) and the touchdown reception leader. His play had people envisioning the possibility that the Giants might have come away with a No. 1 receiver on Day 3 of the draft, but come the following two seasons, the wheels became loose for Slayton.

For one, while he continued to lead the Giants in receiving yards, he never matched his touchdown production from his rookie season again. He also had a shaky success rate in achieving 40 percent of the first-down yardage, 60 percent of the second-down yardage, and 100 percent of the third and fourth-down yardage. 

The biggest problem for Slayton, though, was dropped passes. After dropping three in his rookie campaign, he had 14 drops over the next three years before finally getting the problem under control in 2023.

Despite being a steady contributor, it seems as though the Giants have consistently sought to upgrade from Slayton. They initially benched him after giving him an ultimatum about taking a pay cut during the 2022 season (he agreed to the cut), only to find that he delivered the goods.

And now, this year, they added first-round receiver Malik Nabers to the room, which is sure to siphon some of Salyton’s targets in the passing game, calling into question if he’ll reach the incentives added to his contract.

And yet, no matter what, Slayton remains committed to helping the team in whatever role he’s asked. You won’t hear him complain, but he’ll be the first to defend a teammate who draws hate on social media. 

That’s a good teammate for you, and it helps that Slayton continues to be productive, no matter his role.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 198  lbs.
Exp.: 6 Years
School: Auburn
How Acquired: D5-19

One of the most consistent and healthiest performers in his five years with the team, this 2019 fifth-round pick has easily surpassed expectations.

He led the Giants in receiving yards with 770. He caught 50 balls at a 15.4 yards per catch average. But it’s been his deep speed, and that’s his calling card. Slayton used that to work the comebacks and open the middle of the field. 

Slayton showed himself to be a solid No. 2 receiver. His game comes up short in the contested catch department, where he has a 35.6 percent conversion rate.  Overall, Slayton is a nice complementary piece on this offense, so he’ll likely remain with the team despite some calls to trade him. 

Slayton is entering the final year of the two-year, $12 million extension he signed in 2023. His cap figure is $7.945 million. He has $2.6 million guaranteed and had the final year of his contract adjusted to include up to $650,000 in play-time and performance incentives this coming season, which, if he were to hit all the incentives in his contract, he could potentially walk away with as much as $2.15 million in incentives in this, the final year of his deal.

Slayton has averaged nearly 78 pass targets per season in his first five years in the league, but don’t be surprised if the average drops to around 65-70 for the coming season should Nabers, the first-round pick, make the impact the Giants hope he makes.

That said, it would be unwise to sleep on Slayton and his ability to continue contributing on offense. While it’s anticipated that NAbers will have a breakout season, nothing is set in stone. Second, Slayton has long appeared to be Daniel Jones’s favorite receiver to target, which is no surprise given that they were both in that 2019 draft class together. 

More importantly, if Nabers turns into what the Giants hope he can be, that may take some pressure off Slayton, who has been somewhat of a challenge to handle when drawing single coverage at the second and third levels.

And then, of course, is the contract year factor. Slayton’s long-term future with the Giants is iffy, and that was made evident when general manager Joe Schoen declined to give him an extension and gave him some incentives in this, the final year of his contract. Perhaps Slayton, who has always been somewhat disrespected despite being a team player, ends up motivated to have his best season yet.

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