The New York Giants stunned the football world on Tuesday night when they traded wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a first-round pick, third-round pick and safety Jabrill Peppers.
That news and the fallout will be analyzed for days, weeks and possibly even years. But what about the immediate future? What do the Giants do with their No. 1 wide receiver position?
With Beckham now calling Cleveland home, the Giants find themselves with yet another void alongside their well-documented needs at right tackle, cornerback, linebacker, defensive end and safety.
Despite the slew of talent head coach Pat Shurmur has on offense, there is nobody on the roster who can replicate what Beckham can do.
By default, Sterling Shepard is the team’s best player at the position remaining; however, he isn’t a true No. 1. Shepard is more of a traditional slot receiver and won’t be making the move to the outside in 2019.
As far solutions from within go, the Giants will be looking at both Russell Shepard and Cody Latimer on the outside. Both played minimal roles for the Giants in 2018 to the tune of a combined total of 21 catches for 378 yards and three touchdowns. While both certainly have potential as No. 1 guys, in the face of losing a talent like Beckham, neither of those options are exactly enticing.
Free agency is an avenue the Giants could take to replace Beckham. Donte Moncrief is a solid option if the Giants want to go young. At 26, Moncrief would give the Giants a playmaker on the outside who can stretch the field.
He’s coming off the second-best season of his career with 48 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns despite abysmal quarterback play in Jacksonville.
With options in free agency dwindling, the Giants have to make a quick decision in regard to how they’re going to attempt the impossible and fill Beckham’s shoes. Let’s see what general manager Dave Gettleman has up his sleeve this time, if anything at all.