Giants receiver Sterling Shepard officially signed his new four-year contract extension Friday, a deal that should keep him in a Giants uniform through the 2023 season.
“I’m just excited,” Shepard said after signing his new deal. “An opportunity to be in such a great place for another five years, it’s a blessing. I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I’m not going to put so much weight on my shoulders. I’m just going to attack every day like I have been.”
Shepard is entering his fourth NFL season. A second-round pick in the 2016 draft, he has 190 catches for 2,286 yards (12.0-yard avg.) and 14 touchdowns over his career.
With Odell Beckham Jr having been traded to the Browns, Shepard becomes the longest-tenured Giants receiver and will be looked upon to provide leadership to his fellow receivers, including veteran Golden Tate, who signed as a free agent with the team last month.
“I’m ready,” he said. “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.
“I’m no longer a young guy. I’m a vet now. This contract says a lot, so I’m going to handle it the right way.”
In doing so, he's looking forward to contributing to year two of the Pat Shurmur era.
“It was a new system for us early on last season,” Shepard said. “Sometimes in a game, you’re thinking about what you have to do instead of just going out and playing your game. Having a year under our belt is huge. Now we know what the coaches expect of us. I think with everybody getting their feet wet with the system, it’s going to be a lot smoother.”
Including his own contributions. Last season, he split his time between the slot and onthe perimeter. Shepard finished third on the team with career-high totals of 66 catches for 872 yards and scored four touchdowns in 16 games. His 58-yard reception in Atlanta was the team’s longest of the season.
“I played decent,” Shepard said. “I feel I have a lot more left to give. I feel I did a solid job of what they asked of me. Hopefully, we can take it up from here.”