Many experts have bashed the New York Giants for their many curious personnel moves this past offseason from the trading of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the selection of Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Mike Sando of ESPN has graded general manager Dave Gettleman’s performance a D. Throughout his analysis, Sando recounted a conversation he had with NFL executives.
A dispirited college roommate once told me without sarcasm that he was “shooting for a high F” on an upcoming exam. That bit of unintentional comedy came to mind after I told an exec that a D-minus grade seemed right for the Giants’ offseason.
“Yeah,” the exec replied without any intended malice, “so why wouldn’t the Giants be an F?”
Because they finally identified and drafted a potential franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones, I replied.
“If you think he is the guy, great,” a different exec said. “It is just, what are you trying to make your team?”
That is a valid argument. I personally blasted Gettleman for the pick when it happened. He passed on Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen in favor of Jones, a decision that has a very good chance of coming back to haunt him. There is no question in this writer’s mind that Jones still would have been available when the Giants were on the clock again at No. 17.
Sando went on to outline the uneven, tumultuous few months Gettleman has put Giant fans through.
The Giants traded away one of the game’s great playmakers (Beckham) and one of their better pass-rushers (Vernon). They used the first-round choice acquired for Beckham on a 350-pound nose tackle, seven months after trading away a 350-pound nose tackle (Damon Harrison). They acquired a 23-year-old safety drafted in the first round (Jabrill Peppers) to replace a 25-year-old safety drafted in the first round (Landon Collins).
For some, it felt as if the Giants were akin to a basketball team sinking 2-point shots while its opponents were hitting 3s.
Sando is omitting the basic tenor of Gettleman’s theme. He rid the team of ingrates (he forgot Eli Apple, who was traded to New Orleans for a 4th round pick this year and a 7th rounder in 2020) and overpaid players who have had injury issues. Not to mention Beckham, a great player for sure but one that bogged the team down with distractions while playing just 16 of the team’s last 32 games.
Not to be petty, but he mentioned that Collins was a first round pick, which is incorrect. Collins is actually a second round pick. Had he been a first round pick, he’d still be on the roster playing under his fifth-year option this year.
“You could have had Odell and Harrison from last year’s team,” an exec said. “Instead, you have Dexter Lawrence and a fifth-rounder from Detroit. That makes no sense to me.”
It obviously makes sense to the Giants, but execs agreed that New York’s GM, Dave Gettleman, has not communicated the plan effectively.
Agree that Gettleman has botched the communications piece of his plan but this executive misses the point that the Giants did not want Beckham or Snacks around any longer. The final tally for the for the two players is complete. The three players the Giants received for OBJ are: Peppers, Lawrence and outside linebacker Oshane Ximines, while that 5th round pick from Detroit was part of the package Gettleman put together for cornerback Deandre Baker. All four players are expected to be major contributors from Day 1.
Still, Gettleman’s cryptic and cutesy responses when justifying his decisions has convoluted his vision and left the fans and media questioning his motives and are no longer taking him at his word.
I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked, “What’s the plan?”
One exec said it looked as if the Giants were building a team to stop the run in a potentially run-heavy division within a more pass-oriented league. Another questioned whether a “meat-and-potatoes” team would gain traction in New York during the current age. A third questioned how Gettleman could suggest that Jones might sit for three years, which would make it difficult for the team to decide how to proceed on a second contract.
“I don’t think you get rid of great players,” a former GM said. “They traded a pass-rushing defensive lineman for an interior offensive lineman and drafted a quarterback I’m iffy on. You can defend every one of their moves individually, but collectively, are they building an identity that you can win with?”
The decision to get rid of Vernon was a popular one, and they received a quality offensive lineman in return so that move has been met positively by fans. The silly Jones comments were made right after the shocking selection, which perplexed the already stunned football world.
As for building the run defense in a passing league, people are not getting the fact that Lawrence is supposed to be a versatile lineman who not only stuffs the run but can provide pressure up the middle.