Was hiring general manager Dave Gettleman the biggest mistake the New York Giants organization has made in the past decade?
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport seems to think so. According to him, the Giants have made no bigger blunder in the last 10 years than bringing Gettleman on board as the team’s general manager back in 2017.
In 2018, the Giants spent the No. 2 pick on tailback Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback such as Sam Darnold. Although Barkley won Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Giants’ quarterbacking woes sent them spiraling to a 5-11 record.
The Giants did select a quarterback with the sixth overall pick in April, but their decision to choose Daniel Jones over Dwayne Haskins raised some eyebrows. So did their trade of star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., which only netted them safety Jabrill Peppers and picks that they used on nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and edge-rusher Oshane Ximenes.
General manager Dave Gettleman, who the Giants hired in late December 2017, made all of those moves.
None of them were among the league’s top recent personnel decisions, to say the least.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s start with the idea that the Giants were 5-11 because of “quarterbacking woes.”
Sure, Eli Manning was nowhere near perfect last season, but he did have one of the better campaigns in his career in 2018, and did so behind a putrid offensive line that few quarterbacks would have thrived behind. That fact should only make Manning’s production more impressive.
Let’s also not ignore the fact that the Giants, a team that found itself in many close games that just didn’t go its way, were routinely let down by a poor defense that couldn’t stop a nosebleed.
As for the Saquon Barkley-Sam Darnold point: the jury is still very much out on how good or bad that pick was.
Barkley has already established himself as a superstar talent, while Darnold is still trying to find his way with the New York Jets. To call the Barkley pick a mistake at this point is extremely premature. As of right now, the Giants are winning the Barkley-Darnold argument.
There’s no question that the Daniel Jones pick raised some eyebrows, especially since he was chosen instead of Dwayne Haskins and Josh Allen. However, those eyebrows were raised in part because of a ton of misleading information about Jones.
We’ve already seen Jones dispel the idea that he lacks arm strength and accuracy this spring, two of the bigger knocks against him. His inferior collegiate numbers to those of Haskins can be rationally explained away by mentioning just how bad Jones’ Duke teams were. If you don’t believe me, just watch the film.
Gettleman’s moves this past offseason — the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. and allowing Landon Collins to walk in free agency — were certainly against the grain, but were made for very good reasons.
Beckham had become a major distraction to the organization. Whether it was his antics on the field with a kicking net or his throwing shade at his own quarterback during an interview in October of 2018, Beckham just didn’t fit the traditional, no-nonsense style of the Giants. He was becoming bigger than the team and that was a problem.
The Beckham trade netted the Giants a very solid return. Not only did Big Blue get a former first-round pick in safety Jabrill Peppers, the G-Men also netted two picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, turning the first-rounder into defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17 overall and the third-rounder into edge-rusher Oshane Ximines at No. 95 overall.
Not to mention, the Olivier Vernon for Kevin Zeitler trade was combined with the Beckham deal, giving the Giants a huge boost to their offensive line in the form of the veteran right guard.
As for Collins, the Giants saw the writing on the wall. Yes, you can certainly make the case Gettleman should have tried to get something for Collins, but the now-Washington Redskins safety admitted he would have held out on the franchise tag, creating a saga that would have lasted throughout the offseason.
In the end, Collins was paid handsomely by the Redskins with a six-year, $84 million deal ($45 million guaranteed). Even the biggest naysayers of the move to part ways with Collins agreed he wasn’t worth nearly that much. The Giants dodged a major distraction and financial burden for a player whose injury history makes him questionable at best.
Adding to all of that, Gettleman was able to successfully free up a ton of money for the near future — money that will certainly go a long way towards helping the Giants rebuild.
Has Gettleman been perfect? No, as is the case with many, if not all general managers in professional sports. To say his hiring is the worst move the Giants have made in the past decade is undoubtedly a stretch when you put down the Gettleman “haterade” and truly analyze what he has done.