Will Giants trade Evan Engram? 5 teams NFL sources believe could be in the mix

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Evan Engram TD run vs Cowboys
Evan Engram TD run vs Cowboys

The Giants aren’t likely to dump tight end Evan Engram at the trade deadline on Tuesday just for the sake of dumping him. He still has too much value to their extremely depleted offense at the moment, even if he is unsigned beyond the end of this year.

That said, multiple league sources said they believe the Giants are open to dealing their former first-round pick (23rd overall, 2017) if they can get a decent, mid-round draft pick in return. That, though, is a very big “if” because whether there’s much of a market for Engram isn’t very clear.

“There are some teams interested in adding weapons for their offense, and definitely some that could use a tight end,” said one NFL personnel executive. “There aren’t a lot of them, though. And if you do need a tight end, there are probably better ones that can be had.”

That last part depends on a team’s perspective, especially since the other tight ends most often mentioned as being available in a trade are Pittsburgh’s Eric Ebron and Atlanta’s Hayden Hurst. One who was more valuable was Zach Ertz, and the market definitely changed two weeks ago when the Philadelphia Eagles traded him to Arizona for rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a fifth-round pick. The personnel executive said Ertz was the only tight end available “that really excited anyone” and that the Cardinals were the “most aggressive” team in looking for tight end help.

There are other teams, though, with more of a mild interest and maybe some who view Engram as the best of the remaining bunch. With his receiving skills and an expiring contract, he can be enticing too for a contender with an offense that needs a short-term boost.

Whether anyone would offer a high enough pick to convince the Giants to deal him remains to be seen. But if they do decide to explore the market, here are five teams that various NFL sources believe could be in the mix:

Buffalo Bills

Dawson Knox had emerged as a surprisingly dangerous tight end this season, with 21 catches for 286 yards and five touchdowns. But even so, several league sources believe the Bills were looking for tight end help even before they lost Knox temporarily to a fractured hand. Some believe they were even in on Ertz before he was traded to the Cardinals.

At the moment, it’s unclear when Knox will return and obviously how effective he will be when he does. The Bills have the NFL’s sixth-ranked offense and No. 1 defense and know their first-ever Super Bowl championship is well within reach. Engram won’t be what puts them over the top, but they’re the type of team that would and should do everything to add as many good players as they can.

New Orleans Saints

These aren’t Drew Brees’ Saints anymore. In fact, they’re basically a one-man show with Alvin Kamara doing it all. Kamara is even the Saints’ leading receiver with 25 catches. No one else has more than 16 (receiver Marquez Callaway), and their top tight end, Adam Trautman, has only nine. That’s just not sustainable for a team that’s 4-2 and thinks it can be a factor in the playoffs, and it’s probably not tolerable for an offensive whiz like Sean Payton. Engram is the kind of player Payton loves – one who can create mismatches on defense with speed to stretch the field. He may not be the most reliable weapon, but he’s better than most of what the Saints have right now.

Minnesota Vikings

The good news is the Vikings have been so desperate for tight end help that back in August they sent a fourth-round pick to the Jets for Chris Herndon (and a sixth-round pick). The bad news is that Herndon has just 1 catch on the season for 2 yards, and it’s hard to imagine the Vikings will throw more draft capital at fixing that mess. They have gotten an Engram-like performance from Tyler Conklin this season (22-240-1). But Engram could help take some of the pressure off an offense that has some pretty good weapons already with receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook.

Green Bay Packers

They became unfortunate new players in the tight end chase on Thursday night when they lost Robert Tonyan to a torn ACL that ended his season. He was a significant part of their offense and a dangerous (18-204-2) red-zone threat on a team where quarterback Aaron Rodgers never thinks they have enough weapons. With their sights set on a championship, it’s hard to imagine they’ll feel comfortable rolling with 37-year-old Marcedes Lewis (9-108-0) at that spot. They might be the one team on this list willing to overpay for a player like Engram if they feel they have no choice.

Tennessee Titans

They have such a dangerous offense, but it’s all about running back Derrick Henry. Their passing game has taken hit from losing receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith in the offseason. They had high hopes that tight end Anthony Firkser would fill some of that gap for Smith, but he has just 11 catches for 95 yards while battling injuries this year. Engram would not only take some pressure off their lone dangerous receiver, A.J. Brown, but anyone who can stretch the field even a little bit can make Henry even more dangerous for a team that thinks it can bully its way to the Super Bowl this year.