Maybe Dave Gettleman will get the job as general manager of the New York Giants this week. Maybe it will take a little longer. Maybe in the end the Giants will decide to wait for someone like Nick Cesario of the New England Patriots or take a risk on a young rising star in the front office ranks like Trey Brown, the 32-year-old director of college scouting for the Philadelphia Eagles.
No matter, at least for our purposes right now. To get the job, any candidate has to have the answers to a number of questions that Giants’ ownership is sure to ask. Let’s look at five of those questions.
Who would you bring in as head coach?
This, of course, is absolutely critical. The GM and coach have to be on the same page when it comes to the type of team, and consequently type of personnel, they want. It’s long ago now and perhaps pointless to bring up, but I always had the idea in the final few years of Tom Coughlin’s tenure that he and Jerry Reese didn’t see things the same way. A GM has to know what his coach wants/needs, and do everything he can to give him the right pieces. When the GM and coach aren’t on the same page, you get rosters and coaching staff that don’t fit each other.
Does the new GM want a younger coach? An older one? A guy who has been a head coach before? A first-timer? Does he have the connections, the pull to get the people on his list to interview? Can he sell to ownership that his short list includes the right person for the job?
What is your quarterback plan?
The Giants are standing firmly at the crossroads with Eli Manning. Neither Gettleman nor anyone else is getting the Giants’ GM job without a firm plan for Manning, and the future of the franchise at the quarterback position. And, of course, without ownership being OK with that plan.
Move on from Manning this offseason? Draft a quarterback in Round 1 and keep Manning for a year while your first-round pick learns? If that’s the plan, who’s your guy and how do you sell it to Manning? The chalk right now has Josh Rosen going to the Cleveland Browns at No. 1 and Sam Darnold going back to USC. Can you sell Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson to ownership as a franchise quarterback? Would you prefer to keep Manning, trade out of the No. 2 spot in the 2018 NFL Draft, collect some picks and bet on Davis Webb as the future?
What changes would you make in the scouting department?
The Giants have a mostly veteran scouting/personnel department. Some of their senior scouts have been with the organization since the George Young era. Some were hired by Ernie Accorsi. Many are good scouts who have been with the organization through good and bad. Remember — it’s their job to scout the players, not to pick them.
The bigger decisions might regard current interim GM Kevin Abrams and Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross. A new GM might want his own cap analyst, the role Abrams has filled, and personnel evaluator. John Mara said he doesn’t expect sweeping change in the scouting department, but change could come at the top of that group.
Rebuild or revamp?
Yes, there is a difference.
A rebuild would mean most likely hiring a young, first-time coach, jettisoning Manning, letting most if not all of the veteran players heading to free agency walk, perhaps even looking at the roster and stripping away a highly-paid veteran like Janoris Jenkins, whose $28.8 million in guaranteed money has already been paid. This is the blow everything up and start over approach.
Revamp would mean looking at the roster, including the long list of key players who are on injured reserve, and concluding that what you are starting with should be closer to the 11-5 team it was in 2016 rather than the two-win disaster it has become this season. In this scenario, you are probably inclined to keep Manning with the belief that the right head coach, coaching staff and a few key personnel moves could push the team back into contention.
What is your Odell Beckham plan?
Yes, a plan for Beckham’s future has to be part of any discussions with GM candidates. That includes addressing both Beckham’s contract and his penchant for silly distractions.
Giants’ ownership has long said it wants Beckham to be a Giant long-term, but John Mara seemed to leave a little wiggle room in his press conference to discuss the firings of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese.
“I certainly expect him to be a part of this team in the future, but that will be a discussion also with the incoming general manager and the incoming head coach and we’ll make whatever decision we think is appropriate going forward,” Mara said.
- Do you want to make giving Beckham a long-term mega-contract this offseason one of your first major acts as GM?
- Do you want to let the 2018 season ride with Beckham playing on his $8.459 million fifth-year option, and address his long-term future after that?
- Do you have the audacity to present ownership with a Beckham-less plan for the Giants, one that would include trading him for a bushel of draft picks that would be used, hopefully, to infuse the franchise with a new base of talent?
I am not advocating what I believe to be the right or wrong answers to any of these questions. These, though, are all things that will land on the desk of the new GM -- thus any candidate had best walk in the door for an interview with a plan and an idea on how to sell it.