The New York Giants sent a clear message to receiver Ramses Barden that the time is now to make his mark on the big apple when they re-signed him to a cap-friendly one-year deal this spring.
Big and tall, the 6-foot-6 wideout has yet to make a splash for the Giants in his first four years in the league. A third-round pick in 2009 with only 29 total receptions so far, Barden was expected to have made a bigger impact by now; so this is the year that he has to prove he’s worth a more long-term investment than the one-year deal he’s playing on this season.
His biggest obstacle will be getting enough playing time. The Giants have a deep receiving corps when all hands are on deck. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will definitely get more targets than Barden this fall, but the third spot will be his to take.
His competition for the third spot will be second-year man Rueben Randle, who had a decent rookie year but nothing that makes it seem impossible for Barden to overtake him this summer in camp and cement himself as the third option for Eli Manning in New York.
2013 will be the year that we find out if Barden is going to be a regular NFL player, or just another talented young receiver who never couldn’t quite get over the hump and be a difference-maker.
The biggest factor in that transformation will be proving to the coaching staff that he deserves to be on the field more this year, and that begins with him impressing in training camp this summer.