For the first time since a dizzying week that saw the departures of Landon Collins and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants general manager faced the media on a conference call Monday to discuss some of the decisions he decided to make.
It will do little to console Giants fans, who are suddenly preparing for a sizable rebuild after Gettleman let two of the franchise’s best young talents go.
The All-Pro safety Collins was not extended a franchise tag by the Giants, which would have cost approximately $11.2 million. Instead, they opted to let him walk for nothing in unrestricted free agency, a decision which was put under fire considering 38-year-old quarterback Eli Manning is carrying a $23.2 million cap hit in 2019.
The Giants are deciding to once again go with Manning as the starting quarterback next season despite going 8-23 over the past two seasons with a quarterback rating of just 86.4 out of a possible 158.3.
Yet Gettleman sees something that the rest of the football world apparently doesn’t.
“This narrative that Eli’s overpaid and can’t play is a crock,” he said. “With the way we ended the season, and what he’s making, there really wasn’t a decision to make.”
Gettleman can’t really say it too bluntly that Manning won’t be paid over $20 million just to hold a clipboard in 2019, but he did allude to it.
In his final three games of the 2018 season, Manning averaged 279.7 yards per game with three touchdowns, three interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 79.0.
Multiple reports surfaced after Collins’ departure — he signed a six-year, $84 million deal with the Washington Redskins — that the Giants had an opportunity to trade him at the deadline, including the possibility of landing a first-round draft pick.
“The rumor that we were offered a first-round draft pick for Landon Collins isn’t even remotely accurate,” Gettleman said.
You’ll have to excuse Giants fans if they aren’t willing to believe him entirely.
After all, it was Gettleman that claimed throughout the past season that the Giants didn’t sign Beckham to a massive five-year, $95 million extension just to trade him away.
But that’s exactly what happened as Gettleman jettisoned the franchise receiver to the Cleveland Browns for safety Jabrill Peppers — considered to be Collins’ replacement — a first-round draft pick (No. 17) and a third rounder.
“Obviously there is a lot of stuff that factors in, but in order for us to move Odell the other team was gonna have to knock it out of the park,” Gettleman said. “Talks were initiated by the Browns. John [Dorsey] knew we weren’t just going to give Odell away… there was considerable back and forth.”
The accepting of the deal insinuates that Gettleman truly believes that the Giants’ return for Beckham was knocked out of the park (to paraphrase), right?
Well, maybe not.
“You’re not gonna be able to give a Roman Coliseum thumbs up or thumbs down on this trade for a little bit,” he went on to say, hinting that the development of the 23-year-old safety and the outcome of the draft picks will only provide a winner of the deal down the road.
So much for that home run.
Now, while the Giants are expected to languish near the bottom of the NFC for the next few years, Gettleman attempted to change the notion, to little avail.
“We’re building. The object of this is to win as many games as possible every year,” he said. “You can win while you’re building.”
He better have a few tricks up his sleeve because the Giants, right now, looks just like the three-to-five-win team we’ve seen over the past two years.
If he does, he’s not disclosing anything.
“It’s not my responsibility to tell you guys what we are doing,” he defiantly stated.
Well, hopefully, someone within the organization knows what he’s doing.