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Giants 2022 UFA Primer: TE Levine Toilolo

The Giants signed tight end Levine Toilolo to be a blocker. But a season-ending injury combined with modest production likely spells the end of his time with the team.

Levine Toilolo, TE

Height: 6’8”
Weight: 268 lbs.
Age: 30
NFL Exp.: 9 seasons
College: Stanford

The New York Giants signed tight end Levine Toilolo as a free agent in 2020 to a two-year, $6.2 million contract. He played in all 16 games for the Giants in 2020, serving predominantly as a blocking tight end.

Just a year later, and after agreeing to a pay cut to remain with the Giants--he signed off on reducing his $2.95 million base salary to $1.35 million--Toilolo suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon in the summer.

2020 Recap

Because Toilolo didn’t play a single game for the Giants last year, that leaves us with just his 2020 season to evaluate. And all things considered, his first season with the Giants was pedestrian.

In 102 pass play snaps, Toilolo only reeled in five receptions on six targets for 46 yards and no touchdowns. Although Toilolo logged in a total of 257 snaps at the inline tight end slot to assist with the blocking responsibilities (supposedly his strength), he still didn’t live up to expectations. He was outperformed as a run blocker by fellow tight end Kaden Smith.

Toilolo, who also saw 152 special teams snaps (second-most in his career, per data from Pro Football Focus), ended up being a big part of the Giants' 13-personnel package, deployed 10% of the time on offense and in which they had a 43% success rate (four sacks allowed and 3.3 rushing yards per carry, per Sharp Football Stats).

Why Giants Should Keep Him

Since starting tight end Evan Engram, who is also set to be an unrestricted free agent, could be on his way out, the Giants might want to see if Toilolo is healthy enough to contribute.

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As an experienced blocker who brings great size and strength, Toilolo has illustrated throughout his career how much he’s improved as a pass-catcher, only committing one drop in a combined 32 targets over his last three seasons.

He also likely wouldn't cost anything near what the Giants gave him in his last contract, perhaps even willing to accept a Veteran Minimum Benefit deal that would help the cap-strapped Giants.

Why Giants Shouldn’t Keep Him

Since becoming a Giant in 2020, Toilolo has endured his fair share of injuries. And before suffering his ruptured Achilles’, Toilolo was coming back from an undisclosed 2020 injury.

With his receiving production steadily declining since his days with the Falcons--he had just two pass targets with the Giants in 2020--and inconsistencies in his blocking, the Giants might want to explore other options as they look to upgrade the tight end position that woefully underperformed last year.

Keep or Dump?

Though the Giants don’t have much depth within their tight end position--only Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith are under contract, and neither is a lock to return in 2022--it’s time for them to move on from Toilolo.

If Smith and Rudolph are retained and the Giants draft another tight end, Toilolo wouldn’t have a role. There promises to be plenty of tight ends in this year's draft class--talent that can likely be had in Day 2 or early Day 3 if the Giants want to go that route.

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