By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Could this be the final year for Dave Gettleman as the Giants GM? There are mixed emotions from both sides on this topic and now with the aftermath of the DeAndre Baker incident, many non-supporters already of Gettleman believe that unless the Giants finish with 7+ win season; Gettleman should be terminated and the search for a new GM would begin. As a Gettleman supporter, I believe he has done much more good than bad since becoming the GM for the Giants in 2018, however; like all GM’s; he has made some bad decisions. I want to be as fair as possible, So Let’s take a quick glimpse at Gettleman’s top 3 failures and top 3 achievements as the Giants GM:
Top 3 Failures
- Free agent signings: During Gettleman’s first two off seasons as the GM, he made some questionable signings with most notably signing OT Nate Solder as the highest paid OT at the time. Only two players signed by Gettleman in his first two seasons paid dividends: safety Michael Thomas and OLB Markus Golden. This past season, at least on paper Gettleman did much better with the signing of ILB Blake Martinez, cornerback James Bradberry, Camerron Fleming and Kyler Fackrell as his top targets. Overall, Gettleman would concur that he could have done better in the free agent market.
- Trading for Leonard Williams: This will haunt Gettlemans legacy as the Giants GM more than anything else he has done for the Giants. Even I was taken back with this trade and again, I’m a big Gettleman supporter. The argument here is why trade away valuable draft picks for a player who will become a free agent at the end of season when the team is in a rebuilding phase. That’s a fair question and one that Gettleman has constantly defended at many press conferences since the trade. Throw in the fact that Williams is seeking roughly $20M per year and the two sides are reportedly not even close makes it more disturbing. The Giants placed the franchise tag on Williams to buy them some time and they will need to make a decision next off season. At this time, a long term contract doesn’t look favorable for the Giants or for Williams to remain a Giant.
- Drafting De’Andre Baker: Personally; this is not a knock on Gettleman for what has transpired with the DeAndre Baker situation; how can you blame Gettleman for Baker’s alleged actions/conduct as a Giant? Gettleman or any other GM couldn’t have envisioned this scenario to play out and I believe the non Gettleman supporters are looking for anything to put the blame on Gettleman. Admitting; I didn’t like the fact that the Giants drafted Baker and especially trading back into the 1st round and surrendering additional picks in the process. My reasons were that Baker was the 1st cornerback taken with the 30th pick and he did have some red flags that were public knowledge at the time such as: poor work ethic and behavioral issues off the field at Georgia that should not have been overlooked; especially when you’re selecting a player in the 1st round and giving up additional picks as well. Gettleman could have waited until pick #37 (2nd round) and selected Trayvon Mullen, Sean Bunting or Greedy Williams who were all still on the board without losing any picks. By the way, all three allowed less yards per catch than Baker in their rookie seasons.
Top 3 Achievements
- Drafting: Gettleman has had three drafts as the Giants GM and each one has been graded in the top tier among all other NFL teams and in my opinion were all slam dunks. Selecting RB Saquon Barkley when many felt he should have drafted a QB was the right move, regardless what anyone says. Selecting QB Daniel Jones when many criticized him (As I did originally) for passing on OLB Josh Allen has turned out to be right move as many football experts and analyst that were against the pick are now projecting that Jones will be better than any QB from the 2018 class. Overall, Gettleman has drafted well on all three days in each draft getting top value from Day 3 picks such as wide receiver Darius Slayton and Ryan Connelly before his injury. The Giants now have a young and talented nucleus for the future.
- Trading OBJ/Vernon/JPP: Many non-supporters of Gettleman will argue that this should be a failure, how could you trade away arguably the best wide receiver in Giants history? Well, the answer to that is very simple, OBJ was a cancer and a distraction with the Giants and as we are now witnessing in Cleveland, OBJ is following in the footsteps of another cancerous wide receiver by the name of Antonio Brown. Gettleman was able to get a 1st and 3rd round pick along with safety Jabrill Peppers. Those two picks turned out to be DT Dexter Lawrence and OLB Oshane Ximines. All three players have no character issues and many project that Peppers and Lawrence could become Pro Bowlers in the near future. The trade of Olivier Vernon who basically collected a weekly check from the Giantsproduced an interior linemen in Kevin Zeitler who has been graded in the top 10 offensive guards since being drafted in in 2012. Zeitler didn’t disappoint the ownership or the coaches with a solid 2019 season with an overall PFF rating of 76%. As for the JPP trade, Gettleman needed to clear cap space and with JPP who was making roughly $16M and not performing at the elite level; which was expected.. In return, the Giants received a 3rd (69th overall) andswapped their 4th round picks (Giants gaining 6 spots in the draft from 108th to 102nd pick). Those two picks produced DL B. J Hill and QB Kyle Lauletta. Lauletta is no longer with the team, however; Hill has been a steady contributor in two seasons as a Giant.
- Cleaning up Jerry Reese Mess: This is a biggie and for all you Jerry Reese fans, you might not want to continue reading what I’m about to write. During Jerry Reese tenure as the Giants GM, he managed to draft poorly (especially in the later rounds), and over spent in free agency; which set the Giants franchise back and put a choke hold on the teams cap space. Many praise Reese as part of two Super Bowl teams during his tenure, but let’s keep this real. In 2007, which was Reese 1st year as the GM, he inherited a roster that was built by Ernie Accorsi. In 2011, the Giants made the playoffs as a wild card and as fate would have it, got hot at the right time. Gettleman walked into a mess and the fact that he was able to shed a large amount of cap space speaks volume on his part. Adding additional cap space that would allow Gettleman to make other moves to improve the team.
Final Thoughts: Again, I have been a big supporter of Dave Gettleman and overall, I believe he has done more good than bad as the Giants GM. I want him to remain the Giants GM until he decides to walk away. However; I want to be as fair as possible here and I might get some slack from other Gettleman supporters by stating that Gettleman is definitely on the hot seat this season. If the Giants can somehow manage to win 7 or more games, that could save Gettleman from being let go? However; I don’t believe ownership will ignore the De’Andre Baker storyline and what the Giants gave up to get him after knowing Baker had red flags, so another losing season with a top 10 pick who give the ownership the ammunition they need to terminate him. One scenario that I could see playing out that if the Giants finish with a top 10 pick in the 2021 draft; the ownership of Mara and Tisch could give Gettleman an option to announce his retirement. Gettleman is 69 years old going on 70 and that could be the best way to handle this situation by providing Gettleman with this option to eliminate any embarrassment or tarnishing his career. I also believe the Giants already have the next GM in place and if they do move on from Gettleman, his replacement will be announced very quickly. I’m hoping for the best for Gettleman, but it does appear his back is up against the wall.