Good morning, New York Giants fans!
Yes, it is Day 1 of the post-Odell Beckham Era for the Giants and the sun came up. Life did go on. The Giants are still a football team, although a vastly different one with a vastly different future than they were 24 hours ago.
In the immediate moments after the deal it was difficult to think about what Dave Gettleman had done and react with clarity. We tried. In case you missed any of it, here is what we produced:
- Giants trading Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland Browns
- ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast: Ed, Pat Traina react to Odell Beckham trade
- Odell Beckham trade: What does this mean for the New York Giants?
- [Podcast] Dan and Chris react to Odell Beckham Jr. trade
Now, let’s look at how others are reacting to the news.
The back pages of the New York City tabloids are, of course, a gold mine.
Those who write for a living also have opinions.
If you are a Giants fan, this is the consolation you must wake up to this morning: In his mind — and his alone right now — Dave Gettleman has to have a detailed plan, a master matrix where all of this makes perfect sense. It must be something quite elaborate, unseeable to a civilian’s eye, unknowable to a layman’s brain.
That has to be it.
Because the only other thing that makes sense is that he is a real-life version of Max Bialystock, the producer in “The Producers” who purposely tries to create the worst play in the history of Broadway. Of course, the difference is this: Max and Leo Bloom’s play turns out to be an inexplicable hit.
It’s hard to envision “Springtime for Eli” working out quite that way.
The Giants — seemingly rudderless under the stewardship of GM Dave Gettleman — appear committed to a complete top-to-bottom rebuild.
Unfortunately for the Giants, it is difficult to rebuild when you trade away your single best asset for less than what he is worth. According to Eric Eager at Pro Football Focus, the package of picks and Peppers that the Giants received in exchange for Beckham is worth approximately 1.85 wins above replacement over the next four years. That would be a solid haul for most players, but Beckham was worth 1.95 WAR in 2018 alone.
Draft pick value is heavily influenced by whether a team selects a QB, and the 17th pick would be worth substantially more on paper if the Giants were to select an heir apparent to Eli Manning — a decision that’s largely viewed as a no-brainer to everyone outside the confines of East Rutherford, New Jersey.1 The value of the 17th pick falls from 1.6 WAR all the way to 0.75 WAR if any position other than quarterback is taken. And that’s much more likely as New York already holds the sixth overall pick, so if the Giants do decide to select a quarterback in the draft, they’ll almost certainly take one there.
Something dramatic and inexplicable needs to have happened in those 13 days to make this trade make sense because it otherwise reads as if the Giants were hacked. Months after paying him a $20 million signing bonus, they traded one of the league's best young players at any position to the Browns for the sort of offer the computer would reject in a video game.
This has the potential to be a franchise-resetting trade, the sort of deal that gets everyone fired and leaves fans muttering for decades about what could have been. The Giants have never had a player like OBJ before. Now, they don't have him -- or much of anything -- at all.
In dealing Beckham, the Giants have lost a rare talent. And truth be told, they’ve rid themselves of potentially unavoidable headaches down the road. But they’ve also managed to raise even more questions about Gettleman’s handling of the Giants and his track record of jettisoning talented star players.
Dave Gettleman absolutely hates the word "rebuild." Now, he has no choice but to use it.
No matter how the Giants' sell it in the coming days, that's what this franchise is undergoing right now, and likely for the foreseeable future. The stunning trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns all-but proves it. Gettleman, entering his second year as general manager, has now just about blown up whatever was left from the Jerry Reese era, and is rebuilding the Giants' from relative scratch.
Admittedly, it’s hard to see the bigger picture here. If you were remaining hard-headedly by Manning’s side, then why remove the best passing threat he’s had in half a decade — especially in a draft where no clear successor exists – and agree to take on all this dead money?
If you were entering into a full rebuild, why act like drafting a quarterback was a radioactive proposition? Why stockpile veteran offensive linemen? Why draft the kind of luxury offensive weapon that is typically reserved for pushing a complete team over the edge?
It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Barkley to show up in the facility on Monday morning sporting a dyed-blonde mustache, trying to force his way out as well. Recent developments have indicated that the rebuild now apparently taking place will be far longer, and far more arduous than it needed to be.
On Tuesday night, the Giants effectively blew up their franchise, trading Beckham to the Cleveland Browns less than a year after giving him a massive contract extension. It sent the Giants into the most awkward and nonsensical kind of rebuild -- a nearly complete one, but one that will, apparently, still feature 38-year-old Eli Manning.
It's frankly hard to see what the Giants' plan is, unless they have one more dramatic move in their future. In the space of a handful of days, they have given up on three of the most talented players on their team -- Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon and now Beckham -- and for their troubles they got a starting guard (Kevin Zeitler), the Browns' first-round draft pick, the last pick of the third round and safety Jabrill Peppers, a former first-round pick.
There is plenty of time to question whether that is adequate compensation, and for that matter why they didn't trade Collins last season rather than letting him go for nothing. What is unquestionable is that the Giants' attempt at a competitive rebuild should be over. These moves make a modicum of sense only if the next one is the one they dread most of all. What is the point of keeping Manning -- no matter how much better the offensive line should be at protecting him -- if you just took out of his arsenal one of the most dangerous receivers in the game.