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Giants’ GM search: Will they make a choice this week, or widen search?

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Dave Gettleman? Louis Riddick? Someone else?

George Paton

The final week of a historically awful New York Giants season is upon us. That will certainly bring much gnashing of teeth over whether or not rookie quarterback Davis Webb gets some playing time. Why should that ongoing argument stop now?

Truth is, though, the important work for the Giants is not taking place on the field right now. Rather, it is taking place on the upper floors of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, where co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are going about the business of finding a new general manager.

Will the Giants name a new general manager this week or extend their search beyond the regular season so they can talk to potential candidates currently employed by other teams?

That isn’t 100 percent clear at the moment. Several trust-worthy writers have indicated recently that they anticipate the Giants’ GM search to last into the New Year. Other sources have indicated that it’s possible a decision could still be forthcoming this week.

If it is this week

Should the Giants make an announcement this week that they have a new general manager it will almost certainly be either Dave Gettleman or Louis Riddick. They gave what seem to be courtesy interviews to in-house candidates Marc Ross, their VP of Player Evaluation, and interim GM Kevin Abrams. All indications are they want to keep Abrams in some capacity, but not as the guy charged with rebuilding the broken Giants. Ross’s future seems less certain.

The case for/against Gettleman — Gettleman would bring a lot of positives to the job. He has a reputation as an outstanding, dedicated talent evaluator. There is an argument to be made that the Giants’ talent evaluation hasn’t been the same since he left his full-time role with the team after the 2011 season. He knows and has worked with many of people in the scouting department. He has experience as a GM, and built good teams with the Carolina Panthers, who went 40-23-1 with a Super Bowl appearance during his tenure. He built this year’s 11-4 Carolina team. The Giants need a strong presence to make difficult decisions and fix what appears to be a broken locker room. Gettleman was willing to do that in Carolina, to the point where he upset popular players and it perhaps cost him his job. At 66, he is probably a short-timer in the job and wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about bruising egos.

Many of those same characteristics can be viewed as negatives. He would be different than former GM Jerry Reese, but as a former Ernie Accorsi employee and long-time Giants executive he probably doesn’t represent the “wholesale changes” John Mara said he wanted when Reese and Ben McAdoo were fired. He would be a short-timer, so there would have to be a succession plan. That is probably where Abrams would come in. Gettleman is more scout than PR guy or schmoozer, and he might rub some the wrong way. You can also argue that his drafts in Carolina were hit and miss, and that quarterback Cam Newton and star linebacker Luke Kuechly were in place when he got there.

The case for/against Riddick — The biggest positive right off the bat is that Riddick would represent that wholesale change, a hire from outside the Giants’ family tree with fresh ideas. He has scouting and pro personnel experience with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, so he knows how a front office works. Those who are in his corner talk about how smart Riddick is. One told me “he is the smartest front office mind I’ve ever been around.” Riddick might be able to bring Josh McDaniels with him as head coach.

The negatives begin with the idea that Riddick’s TV work is what has actually enhanced his reputation. His former bosses in Washington and Philadelphia didn’t exactly endorse him when he was a candidate for the GM job a year ago with the San Francisco 49ers. While he has scouted college players at ESPN, he didn’t do so for the Redskins or Eagles. He has never been in a draft room or made a personnel decision. He is really an unknown, so putting the franchise in his hands is a risk.

If the search widens

What names might we hear if the Giants extend their search? Here is our full list of possibilities, and it hasn’t changed much since we first published it. Here, though, are the names I’ve heard most often.

George Paton — Assistant GM with the Minnesota Vikings, where they have put together an impressive rostr rebuild. Has interviewed for several GM jobs in recent years.

Brian Gaine — Has been vice president of player personnel for both the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Has interviewed for several GM jobs the past couple of hiring cycles. Has worked with Bill Parcells.

Eliot Wolf — The 35-year-old Director of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers is a hotly sought-after candidate for GM. The question is whether he would leave Gree Bay, where he seems like the logical successor to Ted Thompson.

Nick Caserio — He has been with the New England Patriots since 2001, and been Director of Player Personnel since 2008. Does he want out of the shadow of Bill Belichick? One source told me Caserio is “highly interested” in the job, though Rich of Pats Pulpit thought it would be “a major shock” for Caserio to leave New England.