When it came down to it and it was time to put up or shut up, the Giants saw a deal they could not pass up.
So says Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, who on Monday for the first time explained why he traded uber-talented receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns last week.
“Some have questioned why we signed Odell [last August] and then traded him,’’ Gettleman said. “We didn’t sign him to trade him but obviously things changed. Frankly, what changed is another team made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As it turned out, the fact he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and allowed us to get legitimate value.’’
In return for Beckham, Gettleman received Cleveland’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft, plus a third-round pick (95th overall) and Jabrill Peppers, a 23-year old safety entering his third season. Peppers was a 2017 first-round pick.
“The obvious question is why,’’ Gettleman said. “After much discussion we just believe this is in the best interest of the New York football Giants. I want everybody to know this was purely a football business decision. There’s no intrigue, there’s no he-said, she-said, none of that stuff. Odell is a tremendous talent, which made him a valuable asset. With football being the ultimate team game, we turned that fact into three valuable assets, at the very least.”
There were other factors in shipping Odell out. The Giants – from ownership on down to the front office and the coaching staff – grew tired of the distractions Beckham caused. This annoyance prompted Gettleman to listen when calls came in asking about the superstar receiver.
“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that factors in but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park,’’ Gettleman said. “We were not actively shopping him.’’
Gettleman said the only call he initiated about Beckham was to the Bills after seeing their interest in Antonio Brown did not lead to a deal. Gettleman said he called his friend, Bills general manager Brandon Beane – the two worked together with the Panthers — and “good natured chided Brandon about not calling us and that’s where it ended.’’
Gettleman did have what he called “numerous conversations’’ with 49ers general manager John Lynch “and frankly we couldn’t come to an agreement so that died on the vine.’’
When Browns general manager John Dorsey called last Tuesday morning, the discussions moved quickly and the deal was finalized in about 10 hours – only after the Browns included Peppers in the package.
One of Gettleman’s mantras is “You do not quit on talent.’’ Getting rid of Beckham, he insists, is not a contradiction.
“Yes, I believe that fully,” he said. “Quitting on talent is when you cut a player or get marginal value in return. And we all know this did not happen here.’’