“Oh, I’ll get killed”, said New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman when he was asked about how he’ll handle the reaction if he doesn’t re-sign defensive tackle Leonard Williams, “But I’ve got thick, rhino hide.”
Gettleman may in fact have thick skin, evident by his choices to trade star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and drafting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones sixth overall, but thick skin won’t help him from the unemployment line if he swings and misses this offseason.
So far he replaced the lameduck coach he hired, Pat Shurmur, with the fiery former Patriots special team’s coach Joe Judge, a move that actually drew praise from his many critics. Judge’s philosophy is centered around doing more with a less talented roster, something that the Giants sorely need with the lack of talent Gettleman has been able to acquire during his tenure.
While Gettleman has been solid in the draft, the Giants have given out some of the worst free agent contracts in the league since he was hired. His blunders include signing guard Patrick Omameh, running back Johnathon Stewart and offensive tackle Nate Solder. Omameh and Stewart didn’t even make it through the first year, and Solder has become a liability while being the highest paid tackle in the NFL.
Gettleman entered this year, his make it or break it year, with the sixth most cap space in the NFL at $80 million to spend. The Giants biggest needs were obvious, the offensive line that caused Daniel Jones to lose ten fumbles and the pass rush that was last in the league in sacks.
Weeks into free agency, neither unit looks like it will be any better in 2020.
The Giants missed out on bolstering their offensive line with proven players like Jack Conklin and Bryan Bulaga and instead opted for career backup Cam Fleming. Fleming may help with depth, but there’s no reason to believe he’ll be any better than last year’s failed Mike Remmers experiment.
With pass rushers like Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Floyd and even former Giant Markus Golden on the market, it seemed likely Gettleman would sign someone who would instill fear into the opposing quarterback and conjure up memories of Michael Strahan. Instead, he opted to sign former Packers backup Kyler Fackrell to a one year deal, who had just one sack last season.
Gettleman did spend some big bucks in free agency, bringing in cornerback James Bradberry at three years, $45 million and linebacker Blake Martinez at three years, $30 million. While Bradberry could be a great addition, it’s also a position Gentlemen spent a first, third and fourth draft pick building last year. Martinez is just more of the same for this Giants defense, another Alec Ogletree like linebacker who can’t cover tight ends.
Gettleman’s ‘big fish’ this offseason was franchise tagging Leonard Williams for over $16 million dollars, a player he traded for midseason from the Jets. Williams cost the Giants their 3rd and 5th round picks in this year’s draft, and many believe this move is just Gettleman ‘saving face’.
Gettleman’s philosophy is to build through the draft and fill holes with free agency. Well, $80 million dollars later, the Giants still have the same holes that they started free agency with.
While the Giants are slated to pick fourth in this year’s draft, it remains to be seen if they’ll actually be picking there. With multiple teams trying to move up to draft a quarterback and holes on the offensive line, defensive line and linebacker core, it’s a match made in heaven for a draft day trade.
Gettleman has never traded back on draft day and has said he doesn’t believe in it. He claims that he would be ‘open’ to trading back in this year’s unique situation, but he also said he didn’t sign Odell Beckham Jr to trade him.
Gettleman opened up this offseason with a chance to right his wrongs and make the Giants competitive for years to come. So far, it’s looking more like next year he’ll be cleaning out his office and filled with nothing but regret, instead of looking for free agents to sign.
I hope Dave Gettleman really has thick, rhino hide skin like he claims, because he’s going to need it more than ever after the offseason he’s put together so far.