Dave Gettleman certainly has estranged a large contingent of Giants fans and observers who remain baffled by some of the decisions he made this past week.
Shipping Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland? Sure, it’ll save him and the team’s management some money on their budget for Excedrin and Mylanta, but he was the kind of superstar most teams dream about drafting and holding on to for many, many years. He’s the kind of superstar that seven months ago the Giants signed to play for them for many, many years. They wound up getting about four seasons’ worth of games from him over five and now will have to watch him enter what should be his prime for another franchise.
Letting Landon Collins walk out the door into the open arms (and open wallet) of a division rival? That could haunt them twice a season for the next several seasons.
Swapping Olivier Vernon and his massive contract for an experienced guard who will give the Giants an immediate upgrade in the middle of their offensive line?
OK, so maybe not all of the moves have Giants fans reaching for their pitchforks.
But there have been enough of them — going back to last season even when he was first named general manager — to have many fans at the gates wanting to know how much longer this shredding of the roster will take, and when they can expect to start reaping the benefits of what has been a very painful process.
The needle on the Gettlemeter has plunged deep into red, signaling a warning that things are close to becoming explosive. There even are some, mostly vocal on social media, who want Gettleman gone.
That’s not going to happen. The Giants went almost 40 years without firing a general manager before they axed Jerry Reese in December 2017. They’re not going to do that now with Gettleman after less than two. And it would be wrong to do it even if that idea were on the big conference room table outside John Mara’s office.
“I’m not sure it’s going to be a quick fix,” Mara said in October, “but I’m confident in Dave and in Pat [Shurmur] that they’ll get the job done.”
The Giants are taking a long view and Gettleman deserves a chance to see this through. To see where his decisions from this past week lead, for better or for worse.
The Panthers had similar gripes about Gettleman when he was their general manager. They thought he was too ruthless with the popular veterans on the roster, too cold-hearted when it came to allocating financial resources on players whose value to the team was seen as more intangible, and too nearsighted to have a vision for the future. So the Panthers canned him after 3 1⁄2 years.
They haven’t been to the playoffs since.
Some will say Gettleman dismantled a Super Bowl team and left it in that state. But who knows what they would have done the past two years had he been able to finish the job he started?
In a black-and-white world in which you are either a contender or a rebuilder, Gettleman sees the Giants as gray, concurrently striving for both success and sustainability. Few teams jump to mind that have pulled that off. He may like the “Kansas City Model” for grooming a young quarterback, but there hardly is a model for teams that have one foot in an overhaul and the other in the postseason. That’s a gamble.
Gettleman is taking a lot of gambles with the Giants. Most of them have been in subtractions such as Beckham and Collins. The Giants sold a lot of 13 and 21 jerseys that buyers thought would be solid long-term investments but now are throwbacks.
The biggest risk in the keeper column is counting on a 38-year-old quarterback who has had one winning season in his past six to lead them into 2019 (while possibly grooming his successor). Others include signing 30-year-old Golden Tate to a significant four-year deal, carrying more than $32 million in dead money for this year’s salary cap and building an offense around a running back in a league in which that position often is seen as an accessory and not a cornerstone.
Will they all work out for the Giants? Probably not. That’s not what happens in the NFL. And some of those gambles – such as how he uses the 12 picks he’s amassed for the upcoming draft — may take a few years to determine their worthiness (or lack thereof).
Time will tell, but only at its own pace. In an age of instant gratification, the clock isn’t always on a team’s side. The visceral reactions to Gettleman’s moves this offseason show that.
Hey, Gettleman might not be right. But it’s way too soon to say he is wrong.
COMINGS & GOINGS
Odell Beckham Jr., WR: traded to Browns
Olivier Vernon, LB: traded to Browns
Landon Collins, S: signed with Redskins
B.W. Webb, CB: signed with Bengals
Mario Edwards, DL: signed with Saints
Josh Mauro, DL: signed with Raiders
Jamon Brown, G: signed with Falcons
Jabrill Peppers, S: from Browns via trade
Kevin Zeitler, G: from Browns via trade
Antoine Bethea, S: free agent (Cardinals)
Golden Tate, WR: free agent (Eagles)
Markus Golden, LB: free agent (Cardinals)
Olsen Pierre, DT: free agent (Cardinals)
Aldrick Rosas, K: signed as ERFA
Jon Halapio, C: signed as ERFA
Eli Penny, FB: signed as ERFA
Corey Coleman, WR: tendered as RFA*
Zak DeOssie, LS: signed as UFA
Antonio Hamilton, DB: signed as UFA
Tony Lippett, CB: signed as UFA
*-has yet to sign tender
Offseason grade: Incomplete
Anytime a team sends three Pro Bowl players out the door in the same week it’s tough to justify the moves as anything but a failure. That’s what Dave Gettleman did this week by trading Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon and letting Landon Collins walk away in free agency. The Giants have started to replace them in body – Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea at safety, Golden Tate at receiver, Markus Golden at pass rusher – but it’s hard to see them matching the production. So why not a C, D, or an F? Because of the draft picks. If Gettleman can turn the two top-100 picks he got from the Browns in the Beckham deal (including the 17th overall) along with the 10 others he holds in the upcoming draft into an impact player or two – or a quarterback of the future – that would reduce the sting so many Giants fans are feeling. Heck, it may even prove to be the right decision down the road.