The New York Giants drafted Evan Engram hoping he could become one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Four years later, Engram could be one of the most intriguing names moved before the NFL trade deadline.
New York entered Week 8 with a 2-5 record, headed for another lost season and in need of more draft capital to build a core for the future. Entering the season with high expectations, Engram’s lack of consistent involvement in the offense reflects where things stand between the player and coaching staff.
As New York weights its options before the Nov. 2 deadline, with several offensive weapons closing in on a return, Engram becomes expendable. With that in mind, let’s examine four potential landing spots for a trade.
Evan Engram traded to New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints’ success this season is rather surprising giving the current state of their passing attack. With quarterback Jameis Winston under center and Michael Thomas sidelined, the Saints went into Week 8 ranked 31st in passing yards per game (176.2) and 30th in completion rate (59.4%). Needless to say, things need to change.
Thomas will return in the second half of the season, but that’s not enough. Adam Trautman, in his second NFL season, has drawn just 13 targets in six games. When the Saints’ aerial attack was at its best, we saw tight ends like Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham make plays with their size and athleticism.
- Evan Engram stats (2017-’18): 109 receptions, 1,299 receiving yards, nine touchdowns and 11.9 ypc
That’s where Engram comes in. He blew up at the combine with a 4.42 40-yard dash and an elite Relative Athletic Score (9.07). But after two strong seasons to begin his NFL career, injuries, inconsistency and poor play-calling have prevented him from reaching those heights again. New Orleans could be the perfect opportunity to turn things around before free agency.
Packers find their Robert Tonyan replacement
Heading into “Thursday Night Football” tight end wasn’t a need for the Green Bay Packers. But that all changed when Robert Tonyan suffered a torn ACL, ending his season and taking away a go-to weapon for Aaron Rodgers. Considering how aggressive general manager Brian Gutekunst has been this year, a trade to replace Tonyan is possible.
- Evan Engram contract: $6.013 million base salary (2021)
Needless to say, the difference between the Packers and Giants is significant. Whereas Engram is stuck with the archaic play-calling from Jason Garrett and playing with a quarterback who only shows flashes, playing in Green Bay would change everything. Matt LaFleur can scheme up ways to get a 6-foot-3 tight end with great athleticism open and you can bet Rodgers wouldn’t miss those throws.
Tennessee Titans add another weapon to offense
A lot changed for the Tennessee Titans this past offseason. After watching Jonnu Smith thrive in Arthur Smith’s offense, which made tight ends a focal point, Tennessee hoped that Anthony Firkser could step into that role under new play-caller Todd Downing.
While Firkser’s offense is starting to hit its stride, Firkser has become an afterthought. It’s hurting this offense in 12 personnel, per Sharp Football, with a passing play only successful 54% of the time and 47% with just one tight end on the field. Engram is a superior talent to Firkser and if Tennessee wants to add another piece to provide Ryan Tannehill with another option, Engram is the player to pursue.
Rams diversify their passing attack
There are few things Sean McVay loved more in 2020 than putting two tight ends on the field. According to Sharp Football, Los Angeles operated out of 12 personnel on 29% of their offensive plays, the fourth-highest mark in the NFL.
Bringing in Matthew Stafford made the Rams better and reducing their usage of 12 personnel makes sense considering the quarterback upgrade. But there’s another reason McVay isn’t putting two tight ends on the field nearly as much (14%) through seven games. The options behind Tyler Higbee are Jacob Harris and Brycen Hopkins.
For a mid-round pick, Los Angeles can immediately upgrade at the position. Stafford likes spreading the football around and he’d certainly look towards a target who can make plays after the catch. With Engram in Los Angeles, McVay can diverse the personnel usage in his offense and give defensive coordinators even more to plan against.