New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard recently agreed to a four-year, $41 million extension and is the longest-tenured wideout on the team’s roster.
And at just 25, Shepard now assumes a leadership role among his position group given the departure of Odell Beckham Jr., who was traded to the Cleveland Browns.
Shepard, though, believes his experience will help and he embraces his new role.
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"I’m ready," Shepard said in a team news release officially announcing the extension. "With Odell going down the last two seasons (with injuries), that time definitely helped me get a grasp of what being a leader is all about, and being that lead guy in the room. I think it prepared me for this moment. I was pretty vocal anyway. I’m a pretty vocal guy. That will be no problem."
Shepard won’t be alone to help lead the Giants’ receiving corps, as the team signed veteran Golden Tate to a deal during free agency. The two wideouts project as the top targets for quarterback Eli Manning.
The Giants also have wide receivers Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman, Jawill Davis, Alonzo Russell, Brittan Golden and Russell Shepard, who the team announced Friday agreed to terms on a new deal and will sign it Monday.
New York could also look to the draft to add another player to the wide receiver corps, but Shepard believes the roster already has a good foundation.
"We have no shortage of talent," Shepard said. "Those guys are ballers and they can get the job done. When they’re put in that position, they’re always going to execute. I have all the trust in those guys. I feel we’re going to pick up right where we left off. The last five games were the best games we played in the season. We just have to fine-tune some little things. Once we do that, we’ll be fine."
With a new extension and a bigger role in the locker room, Shepard looks forward to building on the past three seasons with the Giants.
On his career since entering the league as a second-round pick, Shepard has totaled 190 catches for 2,286 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 12 yards per reception.
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