It is now official: The Giants will be without Golden Tate – the wide receiver signed as a direct response to shipping away Odell Beckham Jr. – for the first four games of the season, a devastating blow to an offense and a team that desperately needs to get off to a strong start.
The NFL on Tuesday announced it had denied Tate’s appeal of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s Performance Enhancing Substance Policy.
This means Tate will miss games against the Cowboys, Bills, Buccaneers and Redskins. He can continue to practice, play in the preseason games and be a part of the team, but only until the start of the regular season. After that, he is not allowed in the team facility until Sept. 30, the Monday leading into Week 5 of the season, when he is allowed to return to the active roster. He will be able to make his Giants debut Oct. 6 against the Vikings at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants braced for this news, but it nevertheless stings.
“Golden is a smart player, and he is going to be in the right spot and he has a good feel for the zones, how to get open versus different techniques and stuff,’’ Eli Manning said earlier Tuesday before word came down that Tate’s appeal was denied. “A veteran guy. But also — we have seen a bunch of it with the Giants — his run-after-catch historically has been very good, a playmaker. Hopefully, things work out and he will be here all year.’’
Things did not work out in the appeal, and Tate will miss the first month of the season.
Tate, 30, is not nearly the physical talent or production machine Beckham is, but he is a steady and reliable target and was slated to start alongside Sterling Shepard. Without him, the Giants will have to tap into their depth in the first month of the season to find a replacement among Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. All three are veterans who have been backup-type players in the past. Rookie Darius Slayton is another option.
Tate has not spoken publicly about the suspension, or anything else, since it was reported the last weekend in July that he was being banished. In a statement he released, Tate said that in April — after signing with the Giants on March 14, the day after the Beckham trade to the Browns became official — he took medication prescribed to him by a fertility specialist he and his wife were seeing in their attempt to have a third child.
“I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list,” Tate said in his statement. “I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.’’
The league cautions that banned substances found in the body are the responsibility of the player, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.
In nine years with the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles, Tate has 611 career receptions for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns. Tate signed a three-year contract worth $37.5 million. He stands to lose about $1.7 million this season based on missing four games. Tate’s guaranteed money for 2020 is voided out because of the suspension.