Quarterback Eli Manning has developed a strong connection with Donnell on the field. In 2014, Manning and Donnell recorded 623 yards and 6 touchdowns. Before receiving a career-threatening neck injury, Donnell recorded 223 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one game-winning touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
Donnell will have some competition this year, as Will Tye emerged as a strong option at tight end when Donnell went down with his injury. Tye recorded 464 yards and 3 touchdowns, while he started in just 7 contests. Much like how Tye was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft, Donnell was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft.
A major factor, which is the main reason the Giants were so hesitant on re-signing Donnell, is his neck injury. Donnell injured his neck during week 8 after landing awkwardly on his head. Donnell has been known to often go head over heels at the end of the play, which eventually led to this injury.
Luckily for Donnell, he just received the “ok” from team doctors, giving him permission to practice with the team and prepare for the 2016 season. There was a major concern that Donnell would never be able to return to the football field after there were mixed medical reports throughout the 2015 season.
With the re-signing of Donnell, the Giants will probably no longer be looking for a tight end in the NFL Draft. However, Tye is a very raw talent, and Donnell is by no means a guarantee to stay healthy with his injury prone medical history, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad move to add another tight end to the mix.
All in all, with the re-signing of Donnell, not only does Manning have one of his favorite targets back, but the Giants are now able to direct their attention to other positions of greater need.