Bye-bye, Will Tye?
Thursday night’s first-round selection of Evan Engram by the Giants — along with the signing of free agent Rhett Ellison a few weeks ago — does not portend well for Stony Brook University’s first foothold in the NFL.
Tye, who started 17 games for the Giants during the past two seasons and caught four touchdown passes, will have a hard time squeezing his way back on to the Giants’ roster in 2017, let alone getting back on the field.
“The Giants have been missing a piece like me,” a confident Engram said on Thursday night after he was taken with the 23rd overall pick. “They have a great quarterback and I think Tye, 45, was great for them. I felt that I could be another more dynamic piece at that role.”
Engram has a different skill set than Tye. Engram is faster and will be deployed more as a stand-up receiver. Ellison likely will handle most of the in-line blocking duties, which will include helping the tackles when it comes to blocking pass rushers off the edge.
The Giants signed Tye to an exclusive-rights free-agency deal this offseason with a salary of $615,000. None of that is guaranteed, however. The Giants already have a draft pick from last year, Jerell Adams, on the roster at tight end, along with undrafted free agent Matt LaCosse, who has been injured in his two seasons with the team. It’s unlikely that they will keep four tight ends on their roster this season, even if the top two in Ellison and Engram do not fit into the traditional role of the position. That would seem to pit Tye and Adams against each other for the final spot this summer.
Coach Ben McAdoo would not discuss the ramifications of the Engram pick on the existing tight ends on the roster.
“We’re going to put him in the room, teach him the offense and get on down the road,” McAdoo said on Thursday. “We’re very happy with the players we’ve added to the tight end room and very happy with the players we have in the tight end room. It does give us some versatility and some flexibility. We need to get them all together. We haven’t hit the field yet. We need to hit the field.”
Tye originally was signed by the Giants to their practice squad in 2015 and was promoted to the active roster in Week 4 of that season when injuries caused the team’s numbers at the position to dwindle. He became the first Stony Brook University player to appear in an NFL game and the first to score a touchdown when he did so later in the season in a Monday Night Football game against the Dolphins.
In almost two full seasons with the Giants, Tye has caught 90 passes for 859 yards.