Not everything said or written about him in the media makes Dave Gettleman chuckle. The Giants’ general manager has heard plenty of criticism of his decisions and methods during his time running the team, a tenure that has produced a paltry 15 victories in three full seasons.
But when NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah spoke about Gettleman earlier this week — in particular a trend in his resume that is becoming more and more conspicuous with each passing year — it brought some humor to Gettleman’s day.
In eight previous drafts as a general manager, including his time with the Panthers, Gettleman has never traded back. Not just not in the first round, but never. Asked about the possibility of it finally happening this year, Jeremiah said: "I think we’ll see a right turn in a NASCAR race before we see Dave Gettleman trade back. So I don’t see that happening."
Gettleman put a first-round grade on that remark.
"That’s a hell of a line," Gettleman said on Thursday at his annual predraft news conference, a huge grin on his face. "I got a good laugh."
Gettleman isn’t only amused by the idea that he has some philosophical roadblock that has prevented him from making such a deal throughout his career, though. He also disputes the precept, calling it an "urban myth."
"I’ve tried in the past," he said. "Honest. I’ve tried to trade back."
What has stopped him? Value and timing, mostly.
"I’m not getting fleeced," he said of the first influence. "I refuse to do it. If somebody [else] wants to make a bad trade back, God bless him."
As for the timing, Gettleman said there have been instances when a deal was on the table and all but done.
"And then the guy the other team is trading up for gets picked in front of you," Gettleman said. "’We have a trade, we have a trade.’ Then so-and-so selects, and it’s, ‘No trade, Dave. Goodbye.’ They hang the phone up on me."
This year, however, could very well produce a confluence of situations that make a step back from the 11th overall pick the best decision for the Giants.
Externally, if one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class starts to slip back out of the top 10, the value of the Giants’ pick would go up quite a bit for a team that has needs at the most important position for a franchise.
Internally, the Giants have only six picks in this draft. Gettleman said he is comfortable with that number, but getting a few more at-bats in the process would increase the chances of hitting a home run. The Giants could also start to stockpile picks for 2022. That will be a more traditional draft in terms of access to and evaluation of players than this COVID-19 tinged one is. And remember, the Giants probably won’t be able to plug as many holes in free agency next offseason as they did this year. Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams said earlier this week that it could be "a little bit of a challenge" to meet the salary cap in 2022.
On Thursday, Gettleman downplayed those factors. Whether it was spurred by honesty or gamesmanship we may never truly know.
"You go into the draft, you have an idea of who you’d like to take at that spot, what group of players, and if there is someone sitting there and you have an opportunity to trade up, you trade up," Gettleman said. "If you don’t like what you are looking at and you feel the value is better at the back end of that round, you trade back . . . I don’t think it’s going to be any different than any other year in terms of the opportunities to trade up or trade back."
The end result, however, could be very different for the Giants. And a potential first in Gettleman’s career.