In the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. (who was traded to the Cleveland Browns this offseason), the New York Giants have been making moves to lock up the future of their wide receiving core.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the New York Giants and wide receiver Sterling Shepard have agreed to terms on a four-year, $41 million contract extension. The deal includes roughly $21.3 million in guaranteed money and an average annual value of $10.25 million. As noted by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the deal also makes Shepard, the Giants longest tenured receiver, the highest-paid receiver on their roster.

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Most notably, the move comes almost exactly one month following the blockbuster trade that sent fellow star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. However, despite recent rumors of trade interest from the New England Patriots, it appears the Giants are fully committed to ensuring the strength of their receiving core for years to come.

Having just signed veteran wide receiver Golden Tate to a four-year $37.5 million deal, the extension of Shepard means the Giants now have two versatile receivers who can do damage from both the slot and wide-out positions.

Shepard, 26, is coming off a career best season in 2018 where he recorded 66 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Shepard has also earned recognition recently for his run blocking capabilities. In his three professional seasons, Shepard has recorded a career 190 receptions for 2,286 yards and 14 touchdowns; during that time period he has averaged 63 catches for 762 yards and five touchdowns per year.

In the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants will likely rely even more heavily on Shepard’s production, which should translate into higher overall reception and yards totals in 2019 and years to come.

After an extremely disappointing 2018 campaign where they went 5-11 and finished fourth in a lackluster NFC East division, the New York Giants will be looking for a bounce back year in 2019.

While it remains to be seen what 2019 will bring for the Giants, those in the locker room seem to be more than excited about the extension of Shepard. Giants breakout star running back, Saquon Barkley, took to Twitter in response to the breaking news, stating “My brudda for life!!! Now ya watch him go to work!!”

As already announced by head coach Pat Shurmur at NFL Meetings this offseason, look for the team to draft a future franchise quarterback to replace the waning (in recent years) Eli Manning in May’s NFL Draft, with either of their first-round draft picks (6 and 13).