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Where things stand in the Giants’ GM search

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What has happened so far, what might be coming next

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants
John Mara
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ search for a new general manager kicked into high gear this week, and things have gone pretty much the way they were expected to.

Dave Gettleman, a former long-time Giants personnel man and GM of the Carolina Panthers, has interviewed. Giants VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross has interviewed. Interim GM Kevin Abrams has not yet interviewed, but has been promised he will get his turn. None of those interviews should surprise anyone.

Former NFL personnel man and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick is getting an interview on Thursday. Maybe that is a mild surprise, but it isn’t Riddick’s first GM interview and if the Giants were going to speak with anyone outside their organizational family tree before the end of the season Riddick was always high on the list of possibilities.

Question is, what happens now?

The Giants could decide that they have searched enough. That one of their “family” candidates — or Riddick — is the right man to lead the effort to put the broken Giants back together again.

In that case, the figurative puff of blue smoke (Big Blue Chat co-host Pat Traina always says white smoke — but these are the Giants, it’s gotta be blue) could come from the team’s East Rutherford headquarters next week, signifying a decision.

That would mean that bright, young executives like Brian Gaine (Buffalo Bills), Eliot Wolf (Green Bay Packers), Nick Caserio (New England Patriots), George Paton (Minnesota Vikings) and others who are currently working for NFL teams would not get consideration.

Who would it be?

That, of course, is the franchise-altering question, and we are all waiting for the answer.

Gettleman still feels like the favorite. Former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, consulting in the selection process, recommended Jerry Reese over Gettleman as his replacement with the Giants in 2007. Accorsi helped Gettleman get the Carolina job in 2013. Accorsi could be stumping hard for Gettleman, especially if he feels he owes him this time around.

I keep hearing that the Giants don’t want to lose the 43-year-old Abrams, their cap analyst since 1999, and that could factor into their decision. Abrams doesn’t yet have a lot of scouting or personnel experience, but that doesn’t mean he can’t recognize talent or build a roster. It just means he hasn’t been asked to.

What about Ross? Some see the interview he got this week as a courtesy, a thank you for 11 years of work for the organization. That, to be honest, has been my thinking. Others, though, think Ross is a serious candidate for the job. Reality is, he is a candidate. Until he’s not. So, the possibility can’t be discounted.

There are a couple of things to consider with Ross. First, he has had at least 10 GM interviews since 2010. It’s wrong to think all of those were simple “Rooney rule” interviews. Obviously, there are people around the league who believe he is a talented executive.

Secondly, while Ross has been the Giants’ No. 2 personnel man during his time with the Giants he has never been the team’s decision-maker. Final draft day decisions were always made by Reese. We have no way of knowing how often Ross and the team’s scouting department were on board with draft selections, and how often they made one recommendation while Reese went in another direction. Giants’ ownership would know, and if they were to give the job to Ross it might be an indication they think his judgment has been better than Reese’s.

MG’s grand idea

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network has an intriguing idea, and the more I consider it the more I think it could work for the Giants. It is explained in these two tweets:

The piece Garafolo refers to is by Albert Breer of SI.com. It references all of the things a general manager has to do other than run the draft and sign free agents. Here is what Breer wrote:

Dorsey’s issue in Kansas City was co-workers felt he freelanced with some calls (paying Eric Fisher; drafting Kevin Hogan) and dragged his feet on others (Eric Berry, Justin Houston contracts), which led to festering office politics. Meanwhile, Gettleman’s blunt, hard-nosed manner with long-time Panther employees and in contract talks created friction for his boss, and ran counter to the organization’s well-established culture.

The lesson? Simple. What’s demanded out of the guy occupying the GM’s chair goes well beyond what he can control with the clicker in a dark room.

“It can’t just be the meathead football guy,” said an NFC GM. “That doesn’t fly with ownership, it doesn’t fly with community relations, and that’s not how a lot of the younger scouts think. You have to be able to lead in a different way. … We’re doing our draft meetings now, we have ‘kids’ in there, 26, 27, 28 years old, and they’re all very different in how they think.”

Says an AFC GM of the job: “You’re really touching everything that has to do with the football team. It’s the field, video, trainers, doctors, the players, coaches; you’re involved in football ops, travel, logistics. And yeah, you have other people who are in charge of that stuff, but they look to you for the final stamp on it. … Why is the footing on the field bad? Stuff like that, being on the road, that you’d never think of.”

Using Garafolo’s thinking and Breer’s explanation of the various aspects of the job, perhaps a split makes some sense. Make Gettleman personnel director with final say over the draft and free agent signings. Make Abrams the GM with responsibility for the other aspects of the job — contract negotiation, dealing with all of the other day-to-day parts of running a football operation with many departments and more than 100 people. Along the way you task the 66-year-old Gettleman, a highly-regarded talent evaluator, with helping Abrams learn the minutiae of scouting and player evaluation. Eventually, Abrams assumes personnel control.

Just an idea.

Final thoughts

Everyone, of course has an opinion about who should — or should not — be the next GM. From the outside looking in, though, none of us can really know the work or the personalities of any candidate.

You can make arguments for and against all of the candidates that have been discussed thus far. You can make solid arguments for and against waiting for candidates from other organizations.

Maybe next week we will get clarity on which way the Giants are heading.