An entry-level salesperson working in corporate America could see through the strategy the Giants employed Thursday with wide receiver Darius Slayton.
After practicing almost exclusively with the second-and third-team offenses during training camp, Slayton was targeted with two passes and took an end-around handoff on his five snaps with the starters in the preseason opener against the Patriots. He gained 19 yards from scrimmage.
Sales lesson No. 1: Create a market. And it sure seemed as if the Giants were featuring Slayton to drum up potential trade interest.
“There were plays I wanted to see him on,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “The last 3-4 days, he’s earned that opportunity. Something we talk about with our guys is draft status, how you got here [is irrelevant]. If you are competing and doing well in practice, our job is to give you opportunities.”
The best value pick of former general manager Dave Gettleman’s four-year tenure, Slayton has 13 touchdowns in 43 career games (29 starts) as a 2019 fifth-round pick out of Auburn.
But the Giants are heavily invested in Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson as their top three receivers — with injured veteran Sterling Shepard waiting in the wings — and dumping nearly all of Slayton’s $2.58 million salary-cap hit would provide needed breathing room for day-to-day maneuvering.
The Giants couldn’t fully showcase Slayton because he “tightened up a little bit” after the first two offensive series. The hope is that he can practice Sunday.
“It would’ve been easy this offseason to be really discouraged,” Slayton told The Post earlier in camp, “but I think I had a strong offseason. I look at it as [a turning point]. I have a better understanding of football and my body and how I need to move to be efficient.”
Any potential roster move at receiver comes with a “Seller Beware” warning, however, because relying on Toney’s availability is tricky. After he missed seven games as a rookie and sat out practices in the spring due to a wide variety of injuries, Toney did not play Thursday after tweaking his leg Tuesday in practice.
“He worked really hard in the offseason to get to where he’s at right now,” Daboll said. “Things happen in practice. If he was ready to go, he would be out there. We thought it would be in our best interest and his best interest not to play this game relative to his injury. Hopefully, these next few days will calm it down, and he’ll be ready to go again.”