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Evan Engram had 'best time' of his life after Giants exit: 'At the end of the day, I needed Jacksonville'

Evan Engram entered the NFL with enticing pass-catching skills, prompting the New York Giants to use a first-round pick on the tight end in 2017. After a promising start to his career, however, he struggled to get to the next level with Big Blue, ultimately leaving New York after five seasons.

Engram signed a one-year prove-it deal with Jacksonville last offseason and proceeded to prove it. The tight end added a dimension to Doug Pederson's offense, and Engram set career highs with 73 catches and 766 yards to go with four touchdowns.

The production prompted the Jags to franchise tag Engram this offseason, and both sides have openly said they'd like to come to a long-term deal before the July 17 deadline.

Engram recently joined the 2nd Wind podcast and sounded like a player who has no desire to move on from Jacksonville anytime soon. The 28-year-old noted how much the new start has rejuvenated his career.

"I wanted to be great where I got drafted … but that just wasn't for me. At the end of the day, I needed Jacksonville," Engram said. "I needed the coaches I had there, I needed the relationships I've built with the guys there. I had the best time of my life the past season.

"It was the first time in my career where I didn't want to leave the building. It was a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I'm in the building just staying because I want to work, I want to watch more film. I'm staying with Trevor (Lawrence) after the day is over watching film with him."

Talented players finding new life in a new setting with a new staff is old hat for the NFL. Engram fits into Pederson's system like a glove. The coaching staff knows how to get the tight end in space properly, and Engram rewarded the trust with more consistent play down the stretch -- yes, there were still drops here and there, but not nearly to the frustrating level we saw in New York.

The question is whether the Jags and Engram will come to a long-term solution before the deadline or whether he'll play out the franchise tender in 2023. Engram failed to build on his promising first season in New York. The Jags are betting he's matured since then and won't be a one-year wonder in Jacksonville.

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