Joe Judge is putting his foot down.
The Giants took a train to Landover, Md., on Saturday afternoon, and wide receiver Golden Tate did not join them. The veteran wideout will not play in the Giants game against the Washington Football Team on Sunday at FedEx Field.
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This comes in the wake of Tate’s public displays of frustration about his role in the Giants offense.
To recap: After a 12-yard catch in Monday night’s loss to the Buccaneers, Tate looked to the Giants sideline and could be heard shouting: “Throw me the damn ball!”. Then, after he scored on an impressive 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, he looked at ESPN’s camera and shouted something similar.
Tuesday, Elsie Tate — his wife, an Instagram influencer — ripped the Giants on Instagram (since deleted) for underutilizing him. She called it “excruciating to watch.” At some point, Tate liked a tweet calling for the Giants to cut him.
Tate and Judge spoke at length on Wednesday, when Tate was told not to show up to the Giants facility. He returned Thursday and Judge said it would be “business as usual” … but it wasn’t really.
Tate participated in individual drills, but didn’t run routes during the portion of practice that allowed for media viewing. Friday, he was seen with the scout team, acting as Washington receiver Terry McLaurin.
Giants cornerback James Bradberry was asked about Tate’s presence on the scout team, and awkwardly smiled. “It’s a little … different,” he said.
Judge didn’t directly address the Tate situation with the media this week, though he did say that “I’m not going to tolerate and put up with any kind of selfish behavior from anybody.
So, what does this mean for Tate’s future with the Giants?
On top of this issue, Tate struggled performance-wise, too. He only has 22 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns in seven games this season, and has generally been a massive disappointment since general manager Dave Gettleman signed him to a four-year, $37.5 million contract in 2019.
Tate was already a near-lock to be cut this offseason, which will get the Giants out of the final two years of his contract and save them $6.1 million, with a $4.7 million dead cap penalty.
It seems unlikely at this point that the Giants will cut him this season — they’d save a little less than $4 million right now if they did — though if he continues to act this way, perhaps that will alter the Giants’ decision about his stance with the organization.
With Tate out, starter Sterling Shepard will likely slide over as a slot receiver, with undrafted rookie Austin Mack getting his first start on the outside opposite Darius Slayton.
Expect the Giants to call up one or two receivers from the practice squad for Sunday, with their options being Corey Coleman, Alex Bachman, Binjimen Victor