For the second straight week the Big Blue View mailbag is overflowing with questions from New York Giants fans wanting to know what is going on with their favorite team. Let’s see if we can answer some of those questions.
Alan Goldstein asks: People keep screaming that we are not actually rebuilding and therefore most of the moves they have made are invalid, wrong or an act of incompetence. When I look at things it sure looks like a rebuild to me. New regime sent 85 percent of the team packing, brought in their guys, moved the biggest star who may be considered a luxury on a bad team for draft capital and a player in a position of need and stocked up on draft picks. The biggest complaint seems to be that it can’t be a “rebuild” if Eli is still on the team.
My question is what the heck is a “rebuild” anyway?
Ed says: Alan, I think I’m over whatever anyone wants to call what the Giants are doing. Use whatever word you want — rebuild, build, re-construction, etc. The point is this — the Giants have been bad for a long time and they are trying to change that. The change so far involves some hits, some misses, some popular and talented players being sent away, some really good ones being added.
Eli Manning? No Eli Manning? I’m over that argument, too. What matters in the end is whether the Giants can find a quality heir for Manning, and whether they can build a winning team around that quarterback.
Michael Poulin asks: Isn’t the most reasonable interpretation of the Giants’ recent moves is that they are shedding expensive veteran talent, accumulating draft picks, and increasing future cap space, all with a view toward being a serious contender in 3 or 4 years? They keep Eli for this year. They will not use a first-round pick on a QB this year. By doing this (“tanking with deniability”) they will likely be in the running to draft Tua next year; or Trevor Lawrence in 2021. With one of those QBs plus young talent from the draft and cap space to fill gaps, they will be in line as serious contenders by 2022 or 2023.
Ed says: Michael, I don’t think I would ever call what the Giants are doing “tanking with deniability.” I believe Dave Gettleman when he says he has no interest in tanking. He’s trying to do what he thinks is right to make the Giants better. I also think it’s sort of foolish to say in 2019, “well, our plan is to be good in four or five years.” If the Giants aren’t good long before then, Gettleman and Pat Shurmur will have had their key cards revoked.
Gettleman is trying to fix a roster that had been decaying for years. I don’t know when the quarterback will come. Maybe they pull the trigger on a guy this year. Maybe they wait. With 12 picks this year and cap space next year they should come out the other side as a better football team.
Jon Spitz asks: What about trading a third, and if necessary, a fifth, for Josh Rosen, letting him learn for half a season behind Eli and then see how he does in the last 8 or so games? We still have plenty of draft capital and can focus on defense with them. If the team is not sold on Rosen at the end of 2019, we can look to the terrific quarterback crop coming out in the draft.
Ed says: Jon, earlier in the week I wrote about Josh Rosen and the idea that he makes sense for the Giants. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read that to do so. Price-wise, I don’t think you can get Rosen for a third and a fifth. Everything I have seen and heard makes me believes it would take the Giants’ second-round pick (No. 37) if they wanted to make that move.
Bryan Camacho asks: I know a lot of fans and media feel like Dave Gettleman does not have a plan for the Giants after trading OBJ, but isn’t it reasonable to assume he’s following something similar to what Jerry Jones did when he traded Herschel Walker? Everyone ridiculed the Cowboys and assumed The Vikings were going to run dominant, though as I remember it, the Cowboys won more Super Bowls as a result.
How is it no one else has made this connection and are willing to wait to see the results?
Ed says: Bryan, I think it’s a reeeaaaal stretch to compare the Odell Beckham trade to the Herschel Walker deal. The Walker deal was the biggest in NFL history, eventually involving 18 players.
The trade is a franchise-altering moment for the Giants and I do think we need to wait and see how it all plays out. I keep reminding people that Beckham was a brilliant player but the Giants were a bad team. They’re trying to change that. Let’s see if they can.
Chris Moldenhauer asks: I haven’t heard much about Kyle Lauletta’s chances as the next QB. Why is that? When he was drafted we heard all the positives (high football IQ, hard worker, good anticipation leading receivers before they make their cut, etc, etc.). What have you heard lately? Is he destined to be a backup?
Ed says: Chris, as much as everyone kept screaming for Lauletta to play last season I always say that you can — and should — learn something from a team’s reluctance to play someone. In the very brief stint we saw from Lauletta last season fans should have learned that what the Giants were trying to tell us — that this young man from an FCS school wasn’t ready to be an NFL quarterback — was correct.
I like Lauletta a lot. I have talked to him a number of times and he seems like a nice kid. To be honest, though, his arrest last fall matters. Fourth-round quarterbacks can’t make major mistakes, and the kid did. One of the things Gettleman said at the Combine was you can’t go to bed at night wondering if your quarterback is going to show up to work on time the next day. Who do you think that was directed at?
Lauletta was always a project. Hopefully, he shows on field improvement this year. His rookie year, though, might have made his path harder. Depending on what else happens, Lauletta might be in a fight to keep a roster spot.
David Cleland asks: With Miami needing a QB, could the Giants trade down, and still get a QB, Drew Lock? Then be able to take a DE: Ferguson or OL: Ford. Not sure how many extra picks there would be, but, a lot more positions filled.
Ed says: David, I guess I will begin by saying everything is possible. Until it’s not. With that said, I don’t think the Giants will be trading down with the sixth overall pick. I certainly wouldn’t. Perhaps before they got the 17th overall pick from the Cleveland Browns in the Beckham trade, but not now.
If the Giants don’t want a quarterback at No. 6, they are still in position to get one of the premier defensive player or perhaps the best offensive lineman in the draft. Drop down, you are no longer in that prime real estate. Besides, the Giants have 12 picks. They don’t need to accumulate more in this draft.
If the Giants do anything with the 6th pick it might be moving up. For me, the pick that is interesting is No. 17. Could they maneuver with that pick? I’m guessing here, but I think that’s more likely than trading down from 6.
Josh asks: My question revolves around the Giants 17th pick. Assuming they would really like to keep the 6th pick to draft one of the top defensive talent; what would it cost to move from 17th up to Top 5 or Top 10 to get say Haskins (if they thought he was their guy)? And do you think this would be a better strategy than using the 6th pick to nab a QB (if they are still available)?
Ed says: Josh, this expands on the last question. As of today, I do not think the Giants use that No. 6 pick on a quarterback. This could change, but if the draft were held today I think the Giants would take the best defensive player on the board with their first pick. At 17? Maybe they maneuver for a quarterback. Maybe they sit tight and take a quarterback. Maybe they don’t take a quarterback in the first round at all.
What would it take to move up? Obviously that depends on how far up you are going, but the Giants would probably have to add a couple of their mid-round picks to move up. If they do that, they better really believe in the guy they are moving for.
Bone Saw asks: Do you understand the anti-Eli narrative that so many people have been pushing for the last 2 years, or the anti-Gettleman narrative that many are pushing now? Coincidentally or not, there’s an awful lot of overlap between the two. I see and hear it locally and nationally, at the nj.com, WFAN, ESPN, etc. and i feel like it’s just a lazy narrative (not at all informed or reasonable like the take I get from you and most others at BBV), or like they don’t even watch the games. That’s not to say I think you guys are just Eli and Gettleman fanboys; just that you’re informed and reasonable (especially with regard to a young quarterback - getting it right is more important than picking one this year).
Ed says: Yes, I understand it. I disagree with it, but I get it. Bottom line is that the Giants have been bad for the better part of seven years now and fans are justifiably frustrated. Eli Manning has been there through all of it and, to be honest, sometimes has played well and sometimes he hasn’t. Quarterbacks don’t win and lose game by themselves, though. Teams do. Manning doesn’t block. He doesn’t catch. He doesn’t play defense. He doesn’t punt or play special teams. He can’t do anything about guys getting hurt. There is a lot more to success or failure than quarterback play, but quarterbacks always get too much credit and too much blame.
Steven Alessandrini asks: Now that the dust has started to settle, whats your take on Odell’s reaction to being traded? Between his “bittersweet” comment to Kim Jones and since deleted social post, I get the sense this was a shock to the system and perhaps not what he truly wanted. My guess is he liked all the trade speculation because it reinforced his status as an elite and coveted player but he never thought the Giants would actually part ways with him because he was too valuable. The fact that they were willing to do so appears to have hit him hard. What’s your thoughts or what are you hearing?
Ed says: Honestly, I haven’t spent much (read “any”) time looking at or worrying about Odell Beckham’s reaction to being traded. He’s a member of the Cleveland Browns. He’s got fame. He’s got more money than we will ever dream about. He is going to play for a good team. He will be fine.
I’m sure the deal shocked him. Players who reach the level of fame and celebrity that Beckham has reached usually control the narrative. If they move on it’s because they chose to, or forced the move to happen. Beckham didn’t control this, so I’m sure it was jarring.
Michael Rosenberger asks: In Peter King’s weekly podcast, and in the context of discussing the Beckham trade, he made a bracing assertion: based on the current roster, the Giants are essentially an “expansion team” that probably is several years away from being able to compete. His rationale: they currently have no elite players on defense, having traded them all away, and they are at least two years behind in solving their QB problem. Granted, the team will likely change a lot after the draft. But, viewing the team at the present moment, do you agree or disagree with King? Why? He went on to say that he has little confidence that Gettleman is the guy to turn this around. Agree or disagree? Why?
Ed says: Michael, I’m not buying King’s assertion there. Fortunes change so quickly in the NFL you just never know from year to year. Unless, of course, you are the New England Patriots. I don’t necessarily dispute King’s assertions about the roster, but I remind everyone that they are not playing games this weekend. They don’t do that for almost six months.
Am I sure Gettleman is the right guy for the job? No, I’m not. I’m sure that he is a good football man, and a good man in general. I’m sure he’s working as hard as he can and desperately wants to get this right.
Nobody knows, though, if Gettleman can get the Giants back on the right track. Even he doesn’t know for sure. I keep reminding people that it’s not like he is tearing down the Patriots. The Giants were in shambles when Gettleman took over from Jerry Reese. It never was going go be an easy, or an overnight, fix.
In the end it will come down to whether or not Gettleman is right whenever he pulls the trigger on a guy he hopes will be the Giants next franchise quarterback. If he’s right, everything else will work itself out. If he’s wrong, then the Giants will continue down this losing path.
John Foster asks: You have said that it is too early to judge the work of Gettleman and that if this was a baseball game we would be at about the 3rd inning. Continuing with the baseball analogy, what inning will the Giants be at after the draft, and what would need to happen in the draft for you to consider Gettleman to be successful? Can Gettleman’s work be judged at that point?
Ed says: John, thanks for giving me the opportunity to really explain this stance. I think it needs some context.
I think you are really grading Gettleman and the Giants on a continuum. We can all have our opinions of what has been done since Gettleman became GM. I do. You do. Everyone does. Recognize, though, that Gettleman and Pat Shurmur took over a 3-13 team that had made the playoffs once in six years. This wasn’t going to be re-constructed overnight.
If you really want to you can judge or grade the work Gettleman has done. So far. Thing is, that work is ongoing. The 2019 draft isn’t here yet, and the Giants have 12 picks. There could still be veteran free agent additions. The season is several months away. You will be able to give Gettleman — and Shurmur — a grade of sorts when we see how the 2019 season unfolds. Maybe that’s the mid-term exam, or the middle innings to continue using our baseball analogy.
The 2020 offseason is also going to be critical. The Giants will have oodles of cap space, plus draft picks to continue trying to build a roster that will give them a chance to compete on an annual basis.
When, in my view, do we get to a “final” grade for Gettleman? As Carl Banks said on a recent ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast teams are always rebuilding. Thus, I’m not sure you ever do until he’s no longer GM.
This all comes down to selecting the right long-term heir apparent to Eli Manning. I guess I will give Gettleman’s re-construction of the Giants a “final” grade when he gets the quarterback he wants, when we see enough of that quarterback to know if he made the right choice, and if Gettleman has built a roster around that quarterback that the Giants can win with.
PJ asks: Are any existing backup QBs (Brissett, Sloter, Sudfeld) in play for a trade?
Ed says: PJ, there are a few young quarterbacks out there who have their paths to playing time blocked by franchise quarterbacks. There was a time I thought the Giants might look to try and acquire one of them to at least upgrade the backup situation Eli Manning or perhaps be a bridge. Right now, I don’t see that in the plan. Let’s talk about the three guys you mentioned, though.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts — He’s still 26, played a full season when Andrew Luck was out in 2017 and some believe he can be a starter. Still, reports have been that the Colts want a first-round pick for him. The Giants are not doing that.
Nate Sudfeld, Philadelphia Eagles — An intriguing guy, but with Nick Foles in Jacksonville he is now the backup in Philly. Considering Carson Wentz history of injuries, he isn’t going anywhere.
Kyle Sloter, Minnesota Vikings — This is a guy I think Pat Shurmur is intrigued by. It’s my understanding that when Shurmur was offensive coordinator in Minnesota he was a big part of the reason the Vikings kept Sloter around. I think Shurmur would be thrilled if the Giants were able to bring Sloter to New York. Problem is, the Vikings just lost Trevor Siemian to the New York Jets, which means Sloter is now Minnesota’s backup quarterback.
By the way, Siemian landing with the Jets sure reads like another “no” vote when it comes to the question of whether or not ex-Giant Davis Webb can be a real NFL quarterback.
Chris and Fiona ask: I am surprised that the Giants haven’t been able to sign a free agent right tackle. Do you expect that to change before the draft? Who r the best free agents still available?
Ed says: We know that Mike Remmers, formerly with the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings, visited. I am honestly a little surprised nothing has happened there, and think/hope something still might. Remmers is an adequate player, not a great one, but he could help the Giants. Joe Barksdale is another possibility.