The New York Giants addition of former Raiders tight end Brandon Myers has been one of the most unheralded signings of the offseason but should pay major dividends for Eli Manning’s offense this season.
After one season in New York, the Giants let free agent Martellus Bennett walk and signed Myers to a cap-friendly deal that guarantees him $2.25 million this season. Myers officially signed a four-year deal for $14.25 million, but each of the final three seasons of his contract are voidable.
Should Myers pan out this season, New York will gladly pay the $4 million owed to him in 2014. It’s just a brilliant piece of contract architecture by general manager Jerry Reese.
Myers is coming off a season in which he caught 79 passes – fourth-most among tight ends – for 806 yards and four touchdowns, all career-highs.
In fact, the fifth-year veteran hadn’t caught a touchdown pass until last season. His previous career-high in receptions was just 16 in 2011. Myers remains in a “prove it” stage in his career, which is likely why the Giants weren’t forced to pony up for a long-term deal.
The 6-foot-3, 256-pound Myers fits the mold of former Giants’ tight ends Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss, who both thrived under Eli Manning’s wing. New York doesn’t require a big play tight end in the vein of Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski or even Vernon Davis. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz work just fine as New York’s deep threats.
What the Giants need – and might’ve found – is a tight end who can go over the middle and move the chains. Myers is the perfect complement to Nicks and Cruz. Don’t forget about Rueben Randle, who came on at the end of the season and made Ramses Barden expendable.
As Carson Palmer’s favorite target last season, Myers caught 15 passes on 3rd-and-6 or longer for 152 yards. On 2nd-and-6+, Myers added 23 receptions for 288 yards. Compare that to Martellus Bennett who hauled in just 6 catches for 75 yards on 3rd-and-long situations last season.
New York’s third down offense suffered last season for two reasons: Hakeem Nicks’ on-going injuries and the lack of a go-to target on third down. With defenses keying on Cruz, Bennett needed to be a more trusted target on third down. Myers should fill that role this upcoming season.
Now, don’t go crazy for Myers in fantasy drafts. His addition to the G-Men makes more sense from a football standpoint than fantasy. Would it shock me if Myers caught 100 passes? No, but it wouldn’t shock me if Myers actually saw a reduction in receptions and receiving yards.
In the past five seasons, New York’s top-tight end is averaging 40.5 catches, 542 yards and 5 TDs on 68.5 targets. Bennett’s 90 targets in 2012 marked the first time that Manning had targeted a tight end more than 69 times. In comparison, Myers was targeted 105 times last season. With that said, there’s no reason Myers can’t exceed those numbers but there are a lot of mouths to feed on the Giants offense.
Myers’ fantasy value falls somewhere in the range of Heath Miller and Dennis Pitta, but outside the elite group of tight ends. While it remains to be seen how he’ll fit into the Giants’ offensive scheme, Myers is a reliable option that should provide solid numbers each week.
His potential just might make him a steal.