New York Giants' 2019 free-agent signings: Golden Tate has huge shoes to fill

Golden Tate has 611 receptions and 38 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons. Dylan Buell/Getty Images

A breakdown of the New York Giants' 2019 free-agent signings.

Golden Tate, Wide receiver

The Giants will sign Tate to a four-year deal worth up to $37.5 million with $23 million guaranteed on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Here's a closer look at the wide receiver who spent the second half of last season with the Philadelphia Eagles:

What it means: Tate steps into the massive shoes of Odell Beckham Jr. as the No. 1 receiver with the Giants. It also gives quarterback Eli Manning and coach Pat Shurmur a solid stable of weapons with Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. Combine that with an improved offensive line, the Giants have a chance to still field a strong offensive unit this season. Tate's competitive nature and ability to do damage with the ball in hands after the catch (especially by breaking tackles) is really his strength.

What's the risk: Is this the right move for a team that is rebuilding? That's a decent chunk of cash for perhaps the top wide receiver on the market who is already 30 years old. And his production dipped greatly after being traded to the Eagles. Let's see exactly how the contract is constructed, but $23 million guaranteed indicates he's locked in for at least two and possibly three seasons with the Giants. It again brings us back to the idea that the Giants seem to be building the fort for Manning and straddling the line between rebuilding and trying to compete while doing so.


Antoine Bethea, safety

The Giants intend to sign Bethea to a two-year deal on Wednesday, a source told ESPN. Here's a closer look at the veteran safety who spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: The Giants are adding a veteran on the back end who has familiarity in James Bettcher's defense. Bethea was in Arizona under Bettcher during the 2017 season, when he finished with a career-best five interceptions. This adds bodies to the Giants' defensive backfield. It doesn't preclude them from making more moves, especially with so many veteran safeties still left on the market. It does reiterate that the Giants weren't willing to spend big on the safety position (re: Tyrann Mathieu, Adrian Amos, etc.) in free agency to replace Landon Collins or to fill the free safety spot.

What's the risk: Bethea will be 35 in July. He's near the end of his career. How much does he have left? He did finish with a career-best 121 tackles and 3.0 sacks last season. So the answer appears to be, at the very least, something. The Giants right now have Bethea, Michael Thomas and Sean Chandler as their safeties. Is that good enough?


Markus Golden, outside linebacker

The Giants signed Golden to a one-year deal on Thursday, sources told ESPN's Jordan Raanan. Here's a closer look at the outside linebacker who spent the first four years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: Golden immediately becomes the most accomplished pass-rusher on the Giants' depleted defensive roster. He gets reunited with defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who he spent the first three years of his career with in Arizona. Golden's best year came in his second professional season when he recorded 12.5 sacks. But he tore his knee the following season and had just 2.5 sacks in his return. The hope is that under Bettcher and in his second year back from a torn ACL he returns to his previous form in a prove-it year. There will be opportunities given the Giants' needs at the position.

What's the risk: His tape wasn't great this past season coming back from a serious knee injury. "Time will tell if he can still play at a high level," one source said. But it's a risk the Giants are willing to take given their lack of pass-rushers. B.J. Hill's 5.5 sacks last season as a rookie are the most any player on the Giants roster has ever had in a single season.