Plaxico Burress and Kenny Golladay.
The parallels between the receivers who both can claim they held signed contracts with the New York Giants, are remarkable.
Both spent the final year with their original team—Burress with Pittsburgh and Golladay with Detroit—dealing with an injury that cost them games.
Both had two 1,000-yard seasons to their names before joining the Giants. And both were 27 years old upon signing to play in an offense that featured a quarterback that was 24 years old.
And if that’s not enough evidence to support fate’s sending Golladay, the last remaining true X-receiver available in free agency, to pick up the mantle as left by Burress 13 years ago, how’s this for a coincidence?
Burress wore jersey No. 17 after signing on March 17. Golladay, who wore No. 19 in Detroit, agreed to have his agents hammer out a contract with the Giants on March 19 after concluding a lengthy stay at the team’s facility where he underwent a medical exam and had meetings with head coach Joe Judge, general manager Dave Gettleman, among others.
That’s quite a bit of shared history, even if it’s coincidental. But the Giants are hoping that Golladay can do for quarterback Daniel Jones what Burress did for Eli Manning, which is transform a young quarterback with under three years served in the NFL into the unquestionable future of the franchise by helping the team win a Super Bowl.
Burress and Amani Toomer were the last of the Giants receiving skyscrapers did just that for a young Manning.
Burress alone was a matchup nightmare, a player who cause opposing defensive coordinators to regularly reach for the Tylenol bottle given how his height and physical tools were so deadly against defenses.
Golladay, who per multiple reports signed a four-year contract worth up to $76 million, is the same kind of player.
He’s averaged 16.8 yards per reception. And thanks to his wide wingspan, he’s hauling in 53 contested balls since 2018 according to data from Pro Football Focus.
“I know just as far as me, this team is going to get a competitor, a guy who’s going to come in, work, he’s going to try to push other guys and have fun with it,” Golladay said during a video conference call with reporters shortly after he signed his new contract.
“I want to have fun while I’m doing this, that’s what I’m doing it for. Just be a playmaker.”
Golladay revealed that Jones was among those players who helped to recruit him to the Giants. “He’s still kind of fresh in the league a little bit and I kind of want to grow with him,” Golladay said.
“I’m still growing as a player and I feel like me and him can do some good things. We haven’t gotten on the practice field yet, but me and him both are very excited.”
Jones, through a statement released by the team, echoed his new receiver’s sentiments.
“I’m very excited to have Kenny. He’s been a big time playmaker in this league,” he said.
“When we spoke, he was interested in the culture we have in the building and the mindset of the team. I think he had heard it from coaches but wanted to hear how we saw it as players and how much we believed in it. I think finding the right fit in that sense was important to him. I can’t wait to get out on the field and get to work with him.”
The Giants hope that Golladay’s arrival, combined with the addition of speedy receiver John Ross, a healthy Saquon Barkley, an improving but still young offensive line, and the addition of tight end Kyle Rudolph are the right mix needed to boost a lethargic offense that finished 31st in the league both overall and in scoring last season.
Golladay is certainly ready to do his part.
“I know one thing for sure,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and do all I can to help this offense go. Whenever they need me, I’m going to be there to pretty much make a play.”