The New York Giants are locking down Sterling Shepard.
The Giants and the wide receiver are finalizing a four-year, $41 million extension on Wednesday, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. The deal includes $21.3 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Shepard is coming off a career year in New York. He finished the season with a career-high 66 receptions for 872 yards.
The second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2016 was set to become a free agent after this year. His services would have been in demand. There were some rumblings that Shepard could be moved after the Tate signing, but the Giants wanted to make sure he was part of their future.
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The slot wide receiver market was set in the $9 million per year range this offseason by Jamison Crowder (Jets) and Adam Humphries (Titans). Shepard will top that, including total guarantees of over $20 million.
The Giants are going to be counting more heavily on Shepard this season. He could be looked at as their No. 1 or 1a receiver.
“I think when you play offense, you try and get the most out of the players you have. You have to use their skill sets,” Shurmur said last month at the NFL annual meetings. “I do believe that it takes a village to spread the ball around. The quarterback gets the ball out. We have a lot of fine players on offense. We will spread the ball. Unfortunately, Odell was hurt at the back end of the season and we were able to score our most points of the year. We will find a way.”
It will be with Shepard as a centerpiece of the offense. He has averaged 63 catches, 762 yards and five touchdowns in his first three professional seasons.