If the New York Giants are indeed trying to trade wide receiver Kadarius Toney, what might they be able to get in return?
To sum it up, the answer is probably this: cents on the dollar. They won’t get anything close to the 20th overall pick they spent to draft Toney just a year ago.
I asked around once the report broke that the Giants might be trying to trade Toney, and there are only two comparable trades in recent memory anyone I asked could come up with. Quarterback Josh Rosen by the Arizona Cardinals and cornerback CJ Henderson by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Arizona Cardinals drafted Rosen 10th overall in 2018. They drafted Kyler Murray year later and dealt Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick (62nd) and fifth-round pick (153rd).
Jacksonville drafted Henderson ninth overall in 2020. A year later, they sent Henderson and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Carolina Panthers for linebacker Dan Arnold a 2022 third-round pick.
Neither is a perfect comparison. Rosen being a quarterback had a somewhat different value. Henderson was simply a player the Jaguars, with Urban Meyer as head coach, did not really see as a fit on the field.
What you do see in both instances, though, is asset depreciation.
One former NFL executive I asked thought the Giants might be able to get a late-second or early-third round pick. Another analyst who has worked in the league suggested late-third for a team that really liked Toney a year ago, and thought the Giants might have to settle for as low as a fifth-round pick if they feel they simply need to move on from Tony.
The Giants faced two issues.
- This is said to be a deep wide receiver draft.
- GM Joe Schoen has no leverage. If he is indeed offering Toney around the league, other GMs understand that Schoen will take what he can get. Beggars, as they say, can’t be choosers.
What’s really going on here?
No, Pat Leonard of the Daily News has not always been right in the past. Yes, I know enough about Toney and the Giants to believe him in this instance.
Yes, Schoen said “I don’t think Kadarius is a tradable piece” at the Combine.
My question about that remark has always been this: Did the GM mean he would not trade Toney, or that he would but no one else wanted the player?
I don’t know the answer.
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post confirmed that the Giants “have engaged in conversations with other teams about Toney.”
Reality is, Toney is a lightning-rod player. Incredibly talented, yes. Also, though, a player who entered last year’s draft with many voicing concerns about his maturity.
Toney’s rookie season did nothing to deter those concerned. Giants coaches, including retained special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, expressed the idea as far back as last spring that Toney needed to learn to be a pro and gain the trust and respect of his coaches and teammates.
Near the end of a rookie season that saw him miss six games and tons of practice time with injuries, skip voluntary workouts and have a couple of social media missteps, coaches were saying the same things.
The takeaway? Even after a full season, that trust and respect had not been gained.
The Giants have a new regime in Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. They desperately want to get off to a good start. They did not draft Toney, form GM Dave Gettleman did. We don’t know what Schoen, Daboll and Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane thought of Toney. Would the Bills have selected him, or stayed away from him?
The workouts and the mini-camp Toney has thus far skipped are voluntary. Everyone knows that. Schoen and Daboll have been careful not to criticize Toney, or anyone who has missed some or all of the workouts.
Daboll said he had “good talks” with Toney. Schoen said “life happens” when asked about Toney’s absence.
Still, this is a second-year player with maturity concerns who had ankle, oblique, shoulder and hamstring injuries and two bouts with COVID-19 in an unsatisfying rookie season that raised more questions about his future that it answered.
To not show up for these workouts when most of his veteran and more accomplished teammates — many coming off injuries or uninspiring seasons of their own — cannot be leaving Schoen and Daboll feeling good about Toney’s commitment to maximizing his talent.
Kenny Golladay is one of those players trying to do better after a rocky, unproductive first season with the Giants. He is attending workouts.
“I guess you could just say that’s how much it means to me, especially coming off last season. Just trying to start off on a good note,” Golladay said. “I feel like everyone should definitely be here.”
Maybe things will work out and Toney will be a star for the Giants. Maybe, though, Schoen and Daboll will decide moving on would be the best course of action.
We’ll find out. I would not, though, dismiss out of hand the idea that the Giants would move on.