Giants GM Dave Gettleman speaks to the media before training camp...

Giants GM Dave Gettleman speaks to the media before training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It’s bad enough that the Giants are 1-5 and in the midst of yet another nightmarish season that will end in disappointment unless there's a minor miracle during the next 11 games.

Making matters worse: Many of the players cast aside during Dave Gettleman’s time as general manager are enjoying success elsewhere. Meanwhile, the rosters he has assembled since taking over in 2018 have been vastly inferior, including the group that is careening toward yet another losing record.

All told, the Giants are 16-38 on Gettleman’s watch, and that number figures to get even worse.

A look at some of the players Gettleman has moved on from and how they’re doing now:

Justin Pugh: The former first-round offensive lineman out of Syracuse is part of the NFL’s only unbeaten team, and Pugh is doing terrific work protecting Kyler Murray for the 6-0 Cardinals. Pugh was not re-signed before the 2018 season and inked a five-year, $45 million deal with Arizona.

Jason Pierre-Paul: The Giants took him in the first round in 2010, and he helped them to a Super Bowl victory the next season. A fireworks accident tore off two fingers on his left hand before the 2015 season, but he made it back halfway through the season. Gettleman saw Pierre-Paul as a descending player and traded him to the Buccaneers in 2018 for a third-round pick, which the Giants used to draft defensive lineman B.J. Hill. PS: Pierre-Paul won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers last season. PPS: Hill was traded to the Bengals in August in exchange for center Billy Price. PPPS: The Bengals are 4-2 and have a chance to move into first place in the AFC North with a win over Baltimore on Sunday.

Kevin Zeitler: The gritty guard was one of the Giants’ most reliable offensive linemen after being part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Browns, but he was released in the offseason because of salary-cap considerations. Zeitler signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal with the Ravens, who are having yet another terrific season at 5-1.

Odell Beckham Jr.: A year after signing Beckham to the richest deal for a receiver in Giants history, Gettleman traded him to Cleveland in 2019. Beckham has not been the player he was with the Giants, as injuries have limited him for much of his run in Cleveland, but he is part of a 4-3 team that has hopes of getting back to the playoffs a second straight year. Over time, the trade has looked less impactful for the Giants, who got Jabrill Peppers (likely headed elsewhere after the season or even at the trade deadline) and Dexter Lawrence with the 17th pick in 2019. He’s good, not great.

 Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns warms up...

 Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Cleveland Credit: Getty Images/Nick Cammett

Markus Golden: A second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2015, Golden signed with the Giants in 2019 and was one of the team’s more impactful pass rushers that year. Gettleman traded Golden to the Cardinals for a sixth-round pick after seven games last season, and he has four sacks and a league-high three forced fumbles with a 6-0 team. Think he’s not feeling good about things?

Janoris Jenkins: You can’t blame Gettleman for moving on from Jenkins, who clearly was unhappy with the Giants. Jenkins is in a better spot now that he’s with the AFC South-leading Titans.

Ross Cockrell: The cornerback certainly made a wise business decision when he backed out of a tentative deal with the Giants before the 2020 season and signed with the Bucs. He got a Super Bowl ring out of it and is back with the defending champs.

Dalvin Tomlinson: The Giants made their choice — Leonard Williams over Tomlinson — but they sure could use help at defensive tackle. Tomlinson signed with the Vikings, who are hanging in at 3-3 in the NFC North.

Not everyone who got away is in a winning environment, of course. Safety Landon Collins, who is playing some linebacker, is with the Washington Football Team. So is former first-round tackle Ereck Flowers, who is a guard with the WFT. Pass rusher Romeo Okwara was released by the Giants in 2018 and flourished last season with the Lions, signing a three-year, $39 million contract extension in the offseason. He’s now on injured reserve with an Achilles injury and the Lions are 0-6.

The Barkley-McCaffrey cautionary tale

The best players on offense won’t be in the lineup when the Giants face the Panthers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and it offers a cautionary tale about investing too much in running backs in today’s NFL.

Saquon Barkley, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, is out with an ankle injury after missing most of the Giants’ game against the Cowboys two weeks ago and all of last week’s game against the Rams. And Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers’ sixth overall pick from 2017, is on injured reserve with a hamstring issue.

When it comes to taking running backs this high, buyer beware. As it turns out, the man who selected both will be a close observer of the game. Gettleman was the general manager of the Panthers when they took McCaffrey and was in his first year with the Giants when he took Barkley.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who inherited McCaffrey when he took over as head coach in 2020, thinks the world of his talented all-around back. He was terrific in helping the Panthers to a 3-0 start, and they haven’t won without him since he got hurt.

"I don’t think it’s building around one player," Rhule said of relying too heavily on running backs. "If you do build it around one player, it has to be the quarterback. My takeaway has been that we have to build an entire team. Make sure we have all the resources all around so that when Christian does come back, we have a well-rounded team."

The bottom line for Rhule is this:

"Having a great player at that position can help you," he said, "but you must have a really well-rounded team."

The Panthers re-signed McCaffrey before last season, so he’s going nowhere. Barkley’s situation is more complicated. He has been hurt three straight seasons after a terrific rookie year, and the Giants have him under contract for 2022. Safe to say they will take their time before deciding to extend him.

Or trade him.

Advantage Belichick

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson hopes for a better showing against the Patriots on Sunday than the first time he faced them. Wilson threw four interceptions in a 25-6 loss at home. Not a surprise, given the fact that Bill Belichick has dominated rookie quarterbacks with a 22-6 record.

Still, Belichick takes nothing for granted against Wilson, who has vowed to be more careful against the Patriots in the rematch.

"He had a lot of big throws against Tennessee," Belichick said about Wilson, referencing the Jets' upset win over the Titans two weeks ago. "He hit some of the outside throws like he did against us. He's athletic. Gets out of the pocket every week. It's a challenge back there to contain."

Stafford is better than advertised

The Rams believed Matthew Stafford would be a good addition when they traded for him in the offseason. But this good?

Not even Sean McVay thought so.

"He has been better than I thought, and I thought he was going to be really good," McVay said. "I think he’s doing a great job. The best players elevate those around them. I think guys are playing better around him."

This trade is turning into a bonanza for the Rams . . . and a nightmare for the Lions.

How good has Stafford been? Historically good. His 16 touchdown passes are the most by a quarterback in his first six games with a new team . . . ever. Stafford’s rating is 116.6, easily the best of his career.

Stafford has the Rams off to a 5-1 start, and they’re clearly a legitimate Super Bowl contender, especially after beating the defending champion Buccaneers earlier in the season.

The Lions? They’re 0-6 under quarterback Jared Goff, who was part of the Stafford deal.

Earlier this week, McVay offered a mea culpa to Goff, who helped the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance after the 2018 season, for not handling his departure more directly.

"I wish there was better, clearer communication," McVay said. "To say that it was perfectly handled on my end, I wouldn’t be totally accurate in that. I’ll never claim to be perfect, but I will try to learn from some things that I can do better, and that was one of them without a doubt."

Apology accepted. Mostly.

"It takes a man to say something like that, so I appreciate it," Goff said of McVay’s remarks.


"It still happened the way it did," Goff said. "But I do appreciate him saying that and have all the respect in the world for them over there."


Yes, it’s still relatively early in the season. And yes, it’s too soon to draw any definitive conclusions about how things will turn out.

Even so, a Bengals-Ravens game in Week 7 to determine first place in the AFC North? Well, that’s something.

The Bengals can thank Joe Burrow for their resurgence — however long it may last. They’re 4-2, and Burrow is enjoying a terrific season with 14 touchdown passes and a 107.9 rating. His only two losses have been to the Bears and Packers, and both were three-point games, with the loss to the Packers coming in overtime.

It won’t be easy against the 5-1 Ravens, though. Not only is Baltimore formidable behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, but Burrow is still dealing with the effects of a throat contusion he suffered against the Packers two weeks ago. He’ll be dealing with a very loud crowd at M&T Bank Stadium, where Ravens fans take pride in trying to drown out opposing quarterbacks’ voices. The Bengals have piped in crowd noise during practice to prepare as much as possible.

"Whether we’re doing crowd noise or periods we don’t, those guys gotta be locked in in the huddle and really intent, looking at [Burrow’s] lips, because it’s going to be noisy," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said.

The Ravens have been exceptional through most of the season, with Jackson showing MVP form. He’s also almost unbeatable in the month of October. Going back to 2019, the Ravens are 9-0, the best October record in the NFL in that span. The Bengals have lost five straight to the Ravens.

More good work from Bowles

For Todd Bowles, life after the Jets has been just fine.

Bowles didn’t get the Jets into the playoffs in his four seasons as head coach, but he has been terrific as the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. Most of the credit for last year’s Super Bowl win goes to Tom Brady, but make no mistake — the Bucs’ improved defense under Bowles was a huge factor in their title run.

And the Bucs have picked up where they left off last season. After leading the NFL in rush defense last year, allowing 80.6 yards per game, the Bucs are even better this season, allowing 54.8 rushing yards per game. They’ve allowed only one 100-yard rusher since the start of last season, and if they continue at their current pace, they’ll become the fifth team since 1950 to limit opponents to less than 60 yards rushing through the first seven games of a season.

Around the league

Amazing factoid: With 597 career TD passes, Brady has more than John Elway (300) and Joe Montana (273) combined . . . Titans running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL with 783 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns and is the third player in NFL history with at least 750 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs in his first six games of the season. The others: Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Eric Dickerson . . . The Bengals could have used help along the offensive line in the draft, but the decision to take wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is proving to be a good one. The No. 5 overall pick leads all rookies with 553 receiving yards and five TD receptions. . . . Week 7 stat to note: In the previous 10 seasons, 107 of 122 teams that were .500 or better after Week 7 went to the playoffs . . . Through six weeks, 11 games have gone to overtime, the second most to this point in the season (12 games in 1995). At least one game has gone to OT every week this season, only the second time that has happened (2018).

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