Kenny Golladay isn’t going to find the end zone for the first time with the Giants from his new spot on the bench.
In what has to be rock bottom for the once-prized $72 million free-agent signing, a healthy Golladay played just two snaps Sunday as the Giants beat the Panthers, 19-16, at MetLife Stadium. He was among a group of players, including Julian Love after making a big winning play, who left the locker room during the 15-minute cooling off period before media were allowed inside.
“It’s a continual competition at receiver,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “We are just going to keep rolling guys [through the lineup] and play the guys we think are going to give us the best chance — and the other guys have to be ready to go as backups.”
A source told The Post early last week that the Giants planned to get Kadarius Toney — who played just seven snaps in Week 1 — more involved in Sunday’s game plan, possibly at the expense of Golladay. Then Toney re-aggravated a hamstring injury on Thursday to temporarily muddy the picture.
“I had more reps this game so I was able to see more different looks,” Toney said after finishing with two catches for zero yards in a heavier workload. “Get involved more and see what my role actually is. The personnel that we were not calling last week got called this week.”
And it made Golladay an odd man out. Golladay’s spot in formations technically went to David Sills, who made three catches for 37 yards in his third career game after three long years on the practice squad. Even Darius Slayton, who accepted a pay cut to avoid getting cut at the end of the preseason and was inactive for the season opener, played one snap against the Panthers.
Sterling Shepard’s six catches (34 yards) and 10 targets were tops for an offense that averaged a paltry 5.1 yards per pass attempt.
“We have to do better on pre-snap,” Shepard said of the receivers. “Guys have to know where to go. Too many times that, myself included, I was going the wrong way. Then you look at the clock and we have to hurry up, so that throws off a little bit of the timing.”
He added, “Especially in our room — it starts with me — we have a lot to work on.”
How did Golladay handle his demotion?
“Great,” Daboll said. “I told him during the week that we were going to go with Sills. He acted like a pro. I said, ‘Be ready to go.’ Does that mean it’s going to be [the same] next week? No. … It takes a lot of mental toughness, too. That’s not an easy thing to hear. I appreciate them being pros.”
Golladay has 39 catches for 543 yards and no touchdowns in 16 games since signing a four-year contract during 2021 free agency. His $13 million salary this season equates to weekly game checks of $764,705, but Daboll has lived up to his promise that performance will be rewarded more than contracts and draft status.
“Everybody has the team mindset,” Toney said. “There’s never really any, ‘I’d rather be in.’ As long as we’re winning, I feel like everybody is happy around here.”