What could a trade for Giants’ Kadarius Toney look like? NFL evaluators weigh in

The Giants are reportedly looking to trade WR Kadarius Toney. According to two NFC evaluators, New York shouldn't expect much in return.

Kadarius Toney’s stay in the Meadowlands might not last much longer. According to Pat Leonard of New York Daily News, the New York Giants are shopping last year’s 20th overall pick ahead of next week’s NFL Draft.

With a new regime in place, Toney is no longer on scholarship following a disappointing rookie year. And with the Giants looking to potentially cut ties with the former first-round pick, GM Joe Schoen shouldn’t expect a big return for the once-heralded prospect, two rival NFC evaluators told Pro Football Network.

What would a trade look like for Giants’ Kadarius Toney?

Toney is coming off a lackluster (at best) rookie season. He battled through COVID-19, injuries, and bouts with the media during his debut campaign in East Rutherford, N.J. He finished the year with 39 catches for 420 yards, failing to score a touchdown in Year 1.

Accordingly, Toney’s value has plateaued among evaluators. Just one year after being a top-20 pick, one longtime NFC executive said Toney’s trade value is a “third-rounder, maybe.”

Another NFC scout compared Toney’s situation to that of 2020 first-round pick C.J. Henderson. In 2020, Jacksonville Jaguars spent the ninth overall pick on Henderson, Toney’s former University of Florida teammate, and he, like Toney, had an uneven rookie season.

After a new regime took charge last season, the Jags shopped Henderson, a former standout cornerback prospect. By midseason, he was moved to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers sent a 2022 third-round pick and tight end Dan Arnold to the Jaguars for Henderson and a 2022 fifth-round pick.

The scout, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about a player on another team, said the Giants could possibly swing a similar deal for Toney. Essentially, trading Toney for another rotational/depth player while also swapping mid-round draft assets.

The team acquiring Toney would need to be comfortable with what it saw on tape last season and/or still feel like he has upside from his college tape. Also, as the scout noted, the front office trading for Toney would need to ponder why the Giants, a team with little cap space, would be so eager to move on from a young, top-tier prospect on a rookie deal.

“It’s so hard,” the scout said about Toney’s value. “Obviously, he has some guaranteed money. You have to ask yourself why they are trading him and how badly they want him out.”

New regime would take a financial blowback in Toney trade

With Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll steering the ship, the Giants have little reason to attach themselves to the previous front office’s leftovers. The team has already openly admitted to shopping former Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry. Additionally, Schoen has stated his desire to avoid reworking deals to help the Giants’ unenviable cap situation.

Toney, who is set to make $1.28 million this season, didn’t show up to the start of the Giants’ voluntary workouts this month. On Wednesday, Schoen refused to bash the wideout for his absence. However, veteran receiver Kenny Golladay was quick to say that “everyone should be here.”

Following Toney’s struggles as a rookie, one would think that creating a great first impression with the new bosses would be an ideal strategy.

UPDATE (12:47 p.m., Monday): According to multiple reports, Toney returned to the team’s facility on Saturday. Talkin’ Giants host Bobby Skinner was the first to report the return.

According to Over the Cap, trading Toney would lead to a cap penalty of $2.38 million due to the prorated bonus he received as a rookie. The Giants would take on around $5.5 million in dead money.

Toney’s entire salary is guaranteed this season. He also has $4.43 million in guaranteed salary remaining on the final two years of his contract. As a first-round pick, he also has a fifth-year option attached to his rookie deal.

Giants’ 2022 NFL Draft outlook

While trading Toney could lead to additional draft capital, the Giants aren’t really hurting in that department. The organization owns nine picks in next week’s draft, including two in the top 10. The Giants will pick fifth and seventh overall in the first round.

The Giants acquired the seventh overall pick from the Chicago Bears because of their draft-day trade last year. Chicago traded up from No. 20 to No. 11 in order to select QB Justin Fields. The Giants then used the No. 20 pick to select Toney while stashing the rest of the trade package for future usage. Now, the new regime will get to use the No. 7 pick in this draft, a lovely parting gift from much-maligned former GM Dave Gettleman.

So, while Toney might inevitably be shipped out of town, the Giants don’t need to trade him before or during the draft. Instead, they could choose to wait until after June 1, when they could split Toney’s dead money hit over two seasons. Rather than losing $2.38 million in a pre-June 1 trade, New York would gain $1.83 million in space in a deal done on June 2 or later, according to Over the Cap.

Given that deadline and its potential benefits, it’s possible that Toney’s stay could at least extend into the summer if the Giants are wary of losing cap space. While that could make for an awkward mandatory minicamp situation, the Giants have to be frugal with their expenses this year.

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