Why You Shouldn't Sleep on WR Darius Slayton's Value to Giants in 2024

Many have assumed that with the addition of Malik Nabers, Darius Slayton won't carry the same value for the New York Giants as he has in the past. Here's why that might not be the case.
Dec 31, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) celebrates his touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium.
Dec 31, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) celebrates his touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Giants receiver Darius Slayton finally ended his self-imposed holdout from the team’s voluntary off-season program this week, a hold out brought about by Slayton’s desire to have his contract, which is entering the final year this year, adjusted.

The Giants aren't willing to extend the contract beyond this year, but they did build in some incentives that will give Slayton, entering his sixth season and now one of the longest-tenured Giants, a bit more on the financial side. The incentives total $650,000, in addition to his $2.5 million base salary owed this year.

“I’m satisfied. We got done what we needed to get done and (I’m)  just looking forward to playing ball,” Slayton said after the team concluded OTA No. 5 on Thursday. “Business is business and I’m here.”

Giants fans should be excited that Slayton is back in the fold because he will be a very important cog in the machine during the 2024 season. Here are some thoughts ahead of what could be a very big season for the underrated Slayton

Why Slayton has the potential for a career season

Some  might wonder how a guy expected to take a backseat to rookie first-round pick Malik Nabers could be set up to have a career season. 

The first part is simple, there is no guarantee he will take a backseat. Nabers is still a rookie and may not be ready to assume the WR1 role immediately. 

Also, who knows quarterback Daniel Jones better than Slayton, who was in Slayton’s draft class? They are both going into year three of this offensive system and not only will it make Daniel Jones sharper, but Slayton should also be more familiar with the system, allowing him to play more freely. 

Slayton will also greatly help Nabers as the rookie figures out the NFL, his new quarterback, and how to navigate New York. 

There should be less pressure on Slayton because of Nabers’ presence in this offense. Nabers will likely be the focus of the best defensive back. Slayton will also take pressure off Nabers because of his home run-hitting ability. 

Defenses will not be able to throw double coverage on Nabers for fear of leaving the defense vulnerable to Slayton, who has consistently proven over his first five seasons that he is difficult to handle at the second and third levels. 

This should have an immediate and positive impact on the Giants offense. When was the last time there were two receivers on this team that defenses needed to respect who could put up WR1 numbers? 

This will allow Slayton a little more wiggle room to operate. He will also be incentivized to operate because he understands this is a contract year. Even if his future is not long-term with the Giants, he knows that his performance in 2024 will determine the type of money he can ask for in free agency. This should be a plus for the Giants offense. 

He's been loyal to the Giants

After his first two seasons, Slayton looked like he would be the Giants' WR1 for a long time. However, he met adversity during the 2021 season, which became the worst season of his five-year career. 

Heading into the 2022 season, the Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a big contract and drafted Wan’Dale Robinson. During the preseason, Slayton struggled and fell out of favor with the coaching staff and the fanbase.

He barely made the final roster, agreed to restructure his contract, and took a pay cut while keeping his head down and his mouth shut. After being a healthy scratch to start the season, Slayton stepped up when his number was called after injuries started affecting the position, and he was able to return to the performance he exhibited over his first two seasons. 

He followed up in 2022 with another strong performance in 2023 despite three different quarterbacks throwing him significant passes during the season.

Slayton has also been a staunch defender of his teammates. This is likely due to the immense negativity and doubt he received in New York. You always see him defending teammates on social media and letting them know he's got their backs. He also celebrates his teammates publicly; he lifts their accomplishments and ensures they are recognized. 

It would be easy for a guy who has dealt with what he has endured to be jaded and not as personal, but Slayton has continued to show the type of heart he has, and that type of leadership is something you want around a team with a bunch of young talented pass catchers on it. 

With so many mid-tier receivers locking up big paydays, it's interesting that the Giants have not worked out a deal to keep Slayton around long-term. It is even stranger to hear Giants fans be so lax about losing a talent like his instead of unproven on the roster. 

One of the issues this regime has had is that in their first two seasons, they have let go of some homegrown talent at other positions that would not have broken the bank to keep, and who would have provided this team with quality depth and experience as a Giant. 

Since being drafted by New York five years ago, Slayton has been a productive, model Giant, and he will likely continue to be that in 2024–and hopefully beyond. 

Gene Clemons


Gene "Coach" Clemons has been involved with the game of football for 30 years as a player, coach, evaluator, and journalist.  Clemons has spent time writing for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Bridgton News, Urbana Daily Citizen, Macon Telegraph and footballgameplan.com.  He has a YouTube channel called "Coach Gene Clemons" where you can find his popular "X&O The Joes" series as well as other football related content.