A Look at the Giants Options Following the Sterling Shepard Injury News

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Ragazzo

The Giants received a bit of bad news Monday regarding receiver Sterling Shepard.

Shepard reported to work in the morning and was showing symptoms associated with a concussion. He was placed in the league’s protocol, and with this being his second concussion of the season, he’s likely going to be sidelined “for a while,” according to a source.

Shepard is, unfortunately, no stranger to head and neck related issues. According to Sports Injury Predictor, he missed one game on November 7, 2013, as a member of the Oklahoma Sooners with what was reported as a Grade 1 concussion, and, according to the site, also reportedly sustained two concussions in high school.

In November 2017, he missed two games with migraines that arose during the week. And on December 24, 2017, Shepard injured his neck in the Week 16 loss at Arizona and missed the Week 17 regular-season finale.

With Shepard sidelined for an unspecified period, the Giants will have a decision to make regarding how they will replace him in the lineup.

Golden Tate, who caught three of his six pass targets for 13 yards in Sunday’s Week 5 loss to the Vikings, will likely see an increase in his pass targets. So too might rookie Darius Slayton, who has nine receptions for 157 yards and one touchdown since Week 3, when he returned from a hamstring strain that kept him out of the first two regular-season games.

In terms of additional depth, the Giants could call up Reggie White Jr. or David Sills from their practice squad. White, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Monmouth, finished third on the Giants in receiving yards (115) in the preseason on eight receptions.

Sills, a 6-foot-3, 211-pound rookie out of West Virginia who spent the preseason with the Buffalo Bills, had two receptions for 14 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown.

The Giants could also bring back one of the two receivers they cut last week, TJ Jones, their preseason receiving leader (12 catches for 146 yards, two touchdowns), or Bennie Fowler (6 catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason).

Jones appeared in three games for the Giants this season, catching three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Fowler, whom the Giants initially signed on October 16, 2018, and whom they re-signed as an unrestricted free agent this past off-season, appeared in four games this year with two starts and has caught 12 balls for 99 yards.

If the Giants do make such a roster move, they would have to clear a roster spot.

One possibility is to put Shepard on injured reserve with an eye toward a return later in the year if doctors believe his recovery could last at least six weeks.

The Giants could also look to trim one of their linebackers to create a spot, especially with inside linebacker Tae Davis having been cleared from the concussion protocol this week.

Additional reporting by Patricia Traina

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