They were just four words, but they were four words Giants fans so badly wanted to hear tumble Tuesday from the lips of Dave Gettleman at the NFL Scouting Combine:
In his seven previous drafts, five as GM of the Panthers and two as GM of the Giants, Gettleman has somehow found a way to be closed for business — even when he owned the second-overall pick and couldn’t wait to drive Saquon Barkley to Canton, and then the sixth pick and fell in love with Daniel Jones.
There is no better time to be open for business than now, when three teams drafting directly behind you — the Dolphins, Chargers and Panthers — are desperate for one of the draft’s two or three franchise quarterbacks — Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert and possibly Jordan Love.
There is no better time to be open for business than now, when your rookie head coach has so many holes to fill on his roster. … When the overriding mission should be getting your second-year franchise quarterback a better supporting cast. … When you can replace the third-round pick you surrendered to the Jets for pending free agent Leonard Williams — or even better, perhaps secure a second second-round pick.
Especially when you find yourself on the hot seat.
Joe Judge is only interested in surrendering name, rank and serial number right now, but you better believe he knows that Jones taking that second-year leap is the fastest way back to respectability and beyond for the New York Football Giants.
If there is no “Gold Jacket guy” sitting there for with the fourth pick, then this is the time for Gettleman to throw his caution to the wind and find a dance partner — ideally no lower than the Panthers at No. 7 — where he would be able to pick from a group of top-tier offensive linemen and possibly defensive weapon Isaiah Simmons.
The best idea — even with $61.9 million to spend in free agency, where Gettleman has faltered — is to continue rebuilding through the draft, and this will be a moment of truth for Gettleman.
As much as Giants ownership treasures stability and continuity, co-owner John Mara put Gettleman on notice at the end of last season when he announced: “He does know that the batting average has got to increase going forward.”
And though the Giants’ new analytics and technological push might help, Gettleman won’t have the benefit of Mara banging on a garbage can while he is in the batter’s box looking for that game-winning home run.
“The fourth pick is a great pick,” Judge said. “There’s a lot of beachfront property right there. … We don’t have to do anything, but we’ll listen to anything.”
Camp Judge won’t be any day at the beach. And shouldn’t be after 9-23 the past two seasons.
“I don’t want to go out there and create a lot of expectations,” Judge said. “Trust me, our players are gonna have enough to come in and prove, I promise you that. They’re not walking into a cushy situation.”
Gettleman’s 2019 draft is promising. He needs Judge to get more from his draftees than Pat Shurmur could. Judge needs Gettleman to get him more of his kind of players. The Giants need Gettleman to be the kickass GM he vowed he would be when he replaced Jerry Reese.
Don’t be afraid to trade down.
“It hasn’t been good enough,” Gettleman confessed on New Year’s Eve. “It will get better.”
Stay open for business.