Giants looking to trade 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney: report

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Kadarius Toney red hood at practice podium
Kadarius Toney red hood at practice podium

It sounds like another Giants first-round pick could be out of town a lot sooner than expected.

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports that the Giants are looking to trade wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the team’s first-round selection in last year’s draft.

Per the Daily News, Toney’s commitment to the team came into question during his rookie season, and there was some “internal momentum” towards giving up on the first-rounder during his first pro season.

At this year's NFL Combine in Indianapolis, GM Joe Schoen seemed very committed to Toney, the 20th overall pick in last year's draft.

"I don't think Kadarius is a tradable piece," Schoen said. "He's a good, young player who our coaches really like."

If the Giants are actively trying to trade Toney, it doesn’t appear to be widely known around the NFL. One executive with a team that hadn’t spoken directly to the Giants about Toney said he heard through his league contacts that the receiver was available, but “it sounds more like they’re listening than shopping” – at least for now. Another NFL source likened it to when Schoen said he was “open” to trading Saquon Barkley – that anyone is available at the right price.

What’s unclear, though, is whether the Giants could get a good price for Toney. Estimates of his trade value from several NFL sources were all over the map, with the highest guess being a third-round pick. The upside of trading for Toney is he’s a tremendous talent and has three years left on his very affordable rookie contract.

The downside is that, if the Giants do trade him, they are willing to give up on that affordable talent – and there’s no mystery why.

“(The Giants) couldn’t get a third-round pick for Saquon, who is a great guy and an elite talent who’s shown what he can do in the league,” said the NFL executive. “This kid has injuries and an attitude and one (big) game on his resume.”

Added an NFL scout: “If I suggest to my GM we should trade for this guy, the first thing he’ll ask is ‘Why are they giving up on him? What do they know that we don’t?’”

The move certainly wouldn’t be based on Toney’s talent. And it wouldn’t be because of the Giants’ salary cap mess, since trading Toney before June 1 would actually cost the Giants more than $2 million in cap space. It would be because of other issues and a belief that he doesn’t fit into their program.

And if it’s that important for them to get rid of him, they might end up having to do it for a Day 3 draft pick. That’s hardly even close to good value for a player who was picked 20th overall in the NFL Draft just one year ago.

After a rollercoaster rookie season, Toney certainly didn’t help matters by not showing up to this week’s voluntary team workouts, a move that was curious to say the least.

When Toney was able to get on the field as a rookie (he missed time with a plethora of injuries and two positive COVID tests), he proved that he can be an electric playmaker, as he caught 39 passes for 420 yards in 10 games, averaging 10.8 yards per catch.

If Toney does indeed get traded, he’d join a growing list of Giants first-round picks who did not sign a second contract with the team, including Deandre Baker, Evan Engram, Eli Apple, and Ereck Flowers, while the jury is still out on Barkley (currently on his fifth-year option) and Daniel Jones (whose fifth-year option hasn’t been picked up yet).