The NY Jets and NY Giants will always be compared to one another. While their rivalry isn't as strong as other New York area feuds throughout sports, there exists a level of competitiveness among the fan bases.
It's just the nature of the beast having two teams share the same home stadium in the largest media market in the world.
This offseason, both organizations looked to bolster their struggling offenses in free agency. The Giants went out and signed Kenny Golladay, arguably the most high-profile wide receiver on the open market, to a massive four-year, $72 million contract.
On the contrary, the Jets signed a wide receiver of their own in former top-five pick Corey Davis to a much cheaper three-year, $37.5 million contract.
We're only a couple of weeks into the 2021 season, but it's already looking like the Jets made the better move.
Corey Davis has gotten off to a better start with the NY Jets than Kenny Golladay has with the NY Giants
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. It's Week 2 of the 2021 season. Golladay has played two games with his new team. Davis has played just one. It's far too early to make any whole-hearted, declarative statements about each of their futures.
But we can look at prior precedent, their contract structures, and their performance thus far to insist which team made the better move in the early goings.
Davis hauled in five catches for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his Jets debut last Sunday. He's quickly established chemistry with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson becoming the unquestioned top playmaker in a revamped Jets offense.
As for Golladay, his Giants career has gotten off to a less ambitious start. The former Detroit Lions wideout missed most of the summer with a hamstring injury and hasn't done a ton through his first two games.
Golladay has just seven catches for 102 yards and no touchdowns through Week 2. He's been overshadowed by Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, two holdovers from last year.
We can mostly ignore some of the more media-driven narratives out there such as the fact that Davis was named a team captain in his first year while Golladay was not, or the latter's shouting match with either Daniel Jones or Jason Garrett on Thursday night.
While those aspects will be picked apart, they're not the core of this argument. As a whole, they're relatively insignificant until proven otherwise.
The NY Jets signed Corey Davis to a much more reasonable contract than Kenny Golladay
Instead, the focal point of this discussion comes down to their contracts. When analyzing contracts, it's important to always look at the structure and guarantees as opposed to just the total sum.
Golladay's $72 million contract is not only larger than Davis', but it comes with significantly more guarantees and a much less team-friendly structure.
Davis' contract is essentially guaranteed through the first two years. The Jets wouldn't have a reasonable out until after 2022 if things were to go south. But after those two years, they could realistically cut ties with him with almost no drawback.
The Jets have an out in Davis' contract after 2022 that would cost them less than $700,000 in dead cap space. For a 26-year-old wide receiver coming off a career year in which he nearly topped 1,000 yards, it's amazing the Jets were able to get him at such a reasonable deal.
The same can't be said for Golladay's contract.
Golladay was undoubtedly the more high-profile free agent, and with good reason. It might be easy to forget after an injury-marred 2020 season limited him to just five games, but Golladay was one of the best receivers in football in 2018 and 2019.
He finished with back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns resulting in his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2019. The Giants paid him for that production, and as a result of a bidding war with other teams, they paid a pretty penny.
Golladay is making $18 million per year. And the Giants really don't have an out in his contract until 2024 when he'll be 31-years-old. And even then, that "out" would still come with nearly $7 million in dead cap.
The Giants are stuck with Golladay, for better or worse. And they're paying him to be one of the best wide receivers in the entire NFL. Will they get that production? It's too early to say.
But the Jets made the smarter gamble.
This take could age terribly. A year from now, we could be talking about Golladay as one of the best wide receivers in football while Davis could fail to capitalize on his Week 1 performance. Of course, injuries could play a factor in how this situation evolves as well.
But based on prior production, their contracts, and early impressions, the Jets made the wiser investment signing Corey Davis over Kenny Golladay.