After seven seasons with the team, the New York Giants voided the contract of their longest-tenured player, Sterling Shepard, on Wednesday. The Giants will now have $4.3 million in dead cap space in 2023 due to voiding his contract.
Shepard appeared in just three games this season before tearing the ACL in his left knee against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3.
There were doubts that Shepard would be part of New York’s plans in 2022, given his injury history. In order to remain on the team, the veteran receiver decided to take a pay cut, which included an automatic void three days after the Super Bowl.
Prior to his injury Shepard caught 13 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown for the season. He scored the G-Men’s first receiving touchdown of the season on a 65-yard pass from Daniel Jones in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans.
New York had high hopes for the former Oklahoma wideout when they took him in the second round of the 2016 draft (40th overall). As a rookie, he had 65 receptions for 683 yards and eight touchdowns.
But various injuries would begin to derail his career. The only time he played a full season aside from his rookie season was in 2018, when he had a career-high in receiving yards (872) with 66 receptions and four touchdowns. Over the past four seasons, he’s appeared in just 32 out of 66 games. Clearly, his inability to stay on the field played a large part in Shepard’s release.
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Could Sterling Shepard return in 2023?
Shepard turned 30 earlier this month, and given his injury history, there may not be a high demand for his services. So this leaves the door open for a possible reunion down the road, depending on what his contract demands are and if the team prefers him over other free-agent receivers.
Shepard is well-liked in the locker room, and he was seen actively cheering on his teammates on the sidelines throughout the season. Some believe he might be open to becoming a coach on New York’s staff. Yet, he’d likely prefer to continue his playing career if given the right opportunity.
If Shepard’s time in New York is over, he finishes his Giants career with 362 receptions for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns.
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