Giants' leading WR Darius Slayton skips workouts as he seeks new deal

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receiver Darius Slayton has not reported to the New York Giants' voluntary workouts while he seeks a contract extension from the team, a source told ESPN. He was their leading receiver last season and in four of the past five years.

Slayton signed a two-year, $12.2 million contract prior to last season. He's due $6.2 million in the final year of his deal this season.

Slayton has been a regular attendee of the Giants' voluntary offseason program in the past. He has a $350,000 workout bonus available based on his attendance this year, but he still seems likely to skip the spring in search of a new contract.

The Giants reported for the start of their offseason workout program on Monday. Coach Brian Daboll said in a videoconference call with reporters that there was a "very good turnout." That apparently did not include Slayton or tight end Darren Waller, who is contemplating retirement. Slayton and Waller were the Giants' top two receivers last season.

Slayton, 27, had 50 catches for 774 yards last year, quality numbers considering the struggles of an offense that produced just 16 touchdown catches last season. Slayton tied with running back Saquon Barkley for the team lead with four.

Barkley signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency after skipping workouts last spring.

A lot could change for New York at the wide receiver position in the coming days. The Giants have the No. 6 pick in next week's draft and are connected to the top receivers available.

It's hardly a surprise, considering the Giants haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2018 and have done extensive work on Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze and Malik Nabers. All three are seen as top-10 options in the draft.

Slayton's future becomes much murkier and could be in doubt if the Giants go in that direction with their first-round pick. They are also heavily invested in Jalin Hyatt and slot receiver Wan'Dale Robinson, two other recent draft picks, and re-signed Isaiah Hodgins this offseason.

Slayton is scheduled to become a free agent following the season and would be entering a wide receiver market that proved strong this year. Gabe Davis received $13 million per year from the Jacksonville Jaguars off a 746-yard, seven-touchdown season. Darnell Mooney got $13 million per year from the Atlanta Falcons off 414 yards receiving and one touchdown for the Chicago Bears. Even Curtis Samuel, who has topped 700 yards receiving once in his seven professional seasons, received $8 million per season from the Buffalo Bills.

Slayton has proven to be a big-play receiver for the Giants since entering the league in 2019 out of Auburn. His 15.1 yards per reception are fourth most among the 79 pass-catchers with 200-plus receptions over the past five seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That puts him ahead of Minnesota's Justin Jefferson, San Francisco's Brandon Aiyuk and Cincinnati's Tee Higgins in that category.

Slayton has 220 receptions for 3,324 yards and 19 touchdowns in 76 career games.

But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Slayton since coming to New York. He struggled at times with drops and, at one point, seemed to be buried on the depth chart upon the arrival of the current regime, led by Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.

Still, Slayton worked his way back to being the team's No. 1 receiver. Slayton has finished between 724 and 770 yards receiving in four of his five professional seasons and is a favorite of Daniel Jones, who remains on track to start the season at quarterback.