EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Kollade didn’t exactly like coach Brian Dabold’s decision to play him two snaps in Sunday’s 19-16 win over the Carolina Panthers.
“Of course I don’t agree with it. Or like it,” Kollade said Wednesday, speaking to the media for the first time since the game. “But I can only control what I can control, which is coming to work every day.”
Golladay, the Giants’ prized free agent acquisition in 2021, didn’t see it. He said everyone in the organization was telling him he was a pro and doing things the right way.
This confuses Kolade.
“I have to play regardless,” he said. “That’s a fact.”
Kollade, 28, is the Giants’ no. 1 receiver when he signed last season of the previous regime. He signed a four-year, $72 million contract and will make $18 million this season.
But Kollade had a rough first year with the team, in which he was plagued by injuries and didn’t score a touchdown. He had a procedure that took him out this spring.
The signs were literally on the wall this summer — despite being on the field consistently — and Colade was compromised by a string of injuries. He surprisingly was one of the few players to play in the season finale and caught two passes for 22 yards on 42 snaps (the most among Giants wide receivers) in a season-opening win over the Tennessee Titans.
Daboll said he told Golade midway through last week that he was going with David Sills V against the Panthers. Sills led the contest with two catches for 17 yards. He is making $825,000 this season.
Kollade has 222 receptions for 3,611 yards and 21 career touchdowns. He led all receivers in 2019 with 11 scores. But it is not beyond reason to think that he has lost a step. Golladay has two touchdown receptions and just under 900 yards receiving in two-plus seasons.
After being benched for most of Sunday’s game, the veteran receiver was asked about requesting a change of scenery.
“We’re going to see how it goes. Yeah, we’re going to see how it goes,” Kolade said. “I came here to play. I’m sure they’re paying me to play, too. I think they want to see more or get things on their end. I’m doing what I have to do as far as coming in. Every day.”
Due to the lack of production and the contract, it is not possible to move Kollade at this stage. He is still owed $11.6 million in base salary for the remainder of this season and $4.5 million next year.
It’s not a problem to keep him around for now. Dabold and several Giants players told ESPN he handled it like a pro.
“It is what it is, it’s a business,” Kollade said. “I’m not here to make friends with the coaches. They’re just co-workers to me.”
Dabold continues to say the wide receiver position is an open competition, and he means business. Richie James leads the Giants with 10 catches and 110 yards.
James was an offseason acquisition that many believed was on the roster bubble. Sills made the team.
Dabold used the same line about the match from the start. Kolade, one of the few players to play in the third and final postseason game, took a similar stance. Katarious Toney, last year’s first-round pick, played just seven snaps in the opener and Colade rarely got on the field against the Panthers.
“It’s an ongoing competition at receiver. Since when do I say that? I’m not an idiot, I said that from the middle of camp, right?” Dabol said Sunday. “It hasn’t changed, it’s going to be an ongoing competition.”
He added on Monday: “Again, it’s the highest-paid player, the lowest-paid player, the highest draft pick, an undrafted free agent — we’re going to go out there and let guys compete. One week doesn’t mean the same is going to happen the next week. Keep getting better.” I think everybody understands what we’re trying to do as an organization in terms of showing up, competing for places, working as hard as you can.”
Dabold isn’t playing favorites based on salary or draft status, which has caught the attention of his team.
“It’s rare, but coach always told us, he doesn’t care if you’re first round, second round, undrafted. He’s talking about what he’s talking about,” senior wide receiver Sterling Shepherd said.
Shepherd has played the most snaps (102) of any Giants wide receiver so far this season. He is coming off an Achilles injury last season. Sills is second with 91.
If Kollade has a role this season, it will have to be earned, not awarded based on his past accomplishments. This new regime isn’t tied to Kolade, the Lions’ third-round pick in 2017.
Kollade was optimistic about how Wednesday’s practice went. He said he hopes his role will be a little different this week.
The Giants (2-0) may need him more against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. Dhoni did not take part in Wednesday’s practice due to a lingering hamstring injury.