In 2018, the New York Giants were struggling. Following one of the worst seasons in history, John Mara hired Dave Gettleman to fix the franchise. The decision by John Mara to hire Gettleman was possibly the worst decision in sports. What followed his hiring was 4 seasons of the worst and most uninspired football in Giants history. To say Dave Gettleman’s tenure in NY was bad would be a gross understatement. That being said, having a good GM in Joe Schoen makes reminiscing over Gettleman less painful. Here are some of Gettleman’s most egregious moves as the GM of the New York Giants.
HM: OBJ Trade
The problem with this move is not the result. This trade is actually one of Gettleman’s less terrible moves. Getting Jabrill Peppers and picks that eventually became Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines isn’t terrible considering how Odell Beckham played in Cleveland. However, this trade represents Gettleman’s tenure boiled down to one decision. Gettleman not only signed him to a monster deal earlier that year but then doubled down throughout the year, stating, “We didn’t sign him just to trade him”. Not even 3 months later and OBJ is a Brown. In my eyes, this is like Gettleman’s entire tenure: a lot of talking followed by a decision that contradicts everything he previously claimed leaving Giants fans baffled at how someone could possibly hire this man as a GM.
It’s just like all of his talk about improving the offensive line when he first got hired. You’ll notice at the end of his tenure the Giants *still* had one of the worst o-lines in the league.
#5: JPP Trade
After a lot of thought about what to put at five, eventually, I came to the conclusion that it’s the Jason Pierre-Paul trade. It could’ve been the Alec Ogletree trade or the Golden Tate contract. It could’ve even been drafting Deandre Baker, or trading Markus Golden. However, none of those made the list and I decided on JPP.
JPP, who had won a Super Bowl and was an All-Pro as a member of the NYG, had recently signed a 4-year deal to stay a Giant. Believed to be essential to the NYG defense, it was shocking when Gettleman traded him to Tampa. What was even more shocking was the return. While he may have been in the final years of his prime, he was still an elite pass rusher. He showed this in his first year as a Buc, putting up 12.5 sacks. Gettleman dealing him for a third and swapping fourth-rounders wasn’t exactly ideal considering the quality of the player. JPP went on to win a Superbowl too, while the Giants have struggled to replace him until this year.
#4: Gettleman Hires Pat Shurmur
Ever since Tom Coughlin’s retirement, the Giants have gone through bad head coach after bad head coach. It’s hard to say who was worse, Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, or Joe Judge, but Shurmur was embarrassingly bad. Somehow, Gettleman kept him for 2 full seasons, in which the Giants went 5-11 and 4-12.
Perfectly paired with one of the worst gms in modern sports is one of the worst head coaches in modern sports. The brand of football the Giants played under Shurmur represents the state of the franchise throughout Gettleman’s tenure. Sloppy, uninspired, and embarrassing football on a team run by an embarrassingly bad GM. Joe Judge can also be roped in with Shurmur.
It’s hard to find a single good thing Gettleman did in terms of the coaching staff in his tenure. The only good hire was the one year of Patrick Graham where he was good, and even that quickly changed last season.
#3: Nate Solder Signing
When Gettleman was hired, one of the biggest things he preached was improving the o-line. While we all know now how much of a tremendous failure it was, he did try to improve it on occasion. However, even when he tried to get quality linemen it blew up in his face. No move he made shows this more than the Nate Solder signing. The former Patriot was considered the best tackle on the market, and looking to improve the o-line, Gettleman handed him a 4-year, $62 million contract with $35 million guaranteed. Yikes.
Solder immediately struggled and never performed remotely close to expectations. A walking lowlight reel in his last years as a Giant, he not only failed to improve the line, but he made it marginally worse. And because of the horrid contract Gettleman graciously gave him, the Giants had no way of getting rid of him.
This isn’t the only bad o-line signing, but it is the worst and a perfect example of Gettleman’s failure as a GM. To this day, the only good thing Gettleman ever did for the line was drafting Andrew Thomas, and it almost looked like a failure after Thomas’s rookie year.
#2: Gettleman Drafts Daniel Jones 6th Overall
Going into the 2019 NFL draft, Gettleman was looking for a QB to replace Eli. Originally he wanted Justin Herbert out of Oregon, and admittedly that would’ve been the right pick. However, Herbert went back for his senior year, and Gettleman, instead of waiting, drafted Daniel Jones out of Duke.
The problem here isn’t DJ. He still has a chance to prove he can be the guy for this team, and he has never been given a fair deal. With a horrid coaching staff that changes year after year, with different OCs that were never good and no o-line, it’s not surprising he has struggled. Daniel Jones was also by no means a bad QB going into the draft. The problem is that Gettleman was impatient and reached for a guy who did not need to go that high. He had the 17th overall pick and while Gettleman did not believe Jones would drop that far, it was likely that he would have. He also could’ve run it back with Eli Manning one more year and then draft Herbert the following season. Either way, Gettleman fumbled here, and badly. With the players available at 6th overall, drafting Jones was a grave mistake.
#1: Drafting Saquon Barkley 2nd Overall
As a Giants fan and a Penn State fan, Saquon Barkley is my favorite current Giants player, so it hurts to put this at #1. I was excited when we drafted him because I watched him at PSU and knew how electric he was. In his rookie year, he proved it too, even in losses he had the potential to score on any play. But even the best running back is not worth a 2nd overall pick. Running back is the most replaceable position in football, and there were so many talented players available at 2nd overall. For example, Gettleman could’ve actually tried to fix the line by drafting Quenton Nelson, and there still would’ve been a solid RB available in the second round. But instead of getting Nelson and potentially Nick Chubb, Gettleman settles for Barkley and Will Hernandez, who has been subpar at best.
Barkley is amazing, but drafting him at 2 was horrible for the franchise, and probably Gettleman’s worst decision. Although, there are so many more baffling moves Gettleman made. It is a massive sigh of relief to all Giants fans to know that he is gone, and now hopefully Schoen can right the ship.