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Dave Gettleman: “I’m happy” with Beckham trade, and more takeaways

Gettleman talks about wide range of topics during rare press conference

NFL: NY Giants Training Camp
Dave Gettleman
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said when he traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns that it would take a couple of years to know if he did well in making that deal.

Well, this is the beginning of the third season since Gettleman made that stunning trade, getting Jabrill Peppers, a first-round pick (Dexter Lawrence) and a third-round pick (Oshane Ximines) in exchange for Beckham.

“I’m happy,” Gettleman said. “We’ve got Dexter. X-Man’s had his injury issues, but when he’s been out there he’s shown promise. And Jabrill’s done a helluva job.

“I like that group.”

Here are more takeaways from Gettleman’s press conference with Giants media on Tuesday.

On Kadarius Toney

The Giants’ first-round pick is off to a slow start, but the GM said the Giants are not down on the young man.

“It’s that way with any young player. You want him on the field. The COVID piece is real. It affects everybody very differently. That’s been a little bit of a stop and start. He’ll get there. He’s working his fanny off, getting healthy,” Gettleman said. “He’s had that stop and start. It doesn’t make us any less enthused about him.”

On Daniel Jones

“He’s got all the physical skills, he’s got all the mental skills. I’m seeing a lot of good stuff out here .. his decision-making is quicker out here, he’s getting rid of the ball quicker, he’s throwing the ball well. He’s making progress,” Gettleman said.

Gettleman was asked if the trade down with the Chicago Bears, which left the Giants with two first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, was a “hedge” in the event the Giants needed to go quarterback-hunting next offseason.

“Not even a thought,” Gettleman said. “The trade was made because the opportunity was there, and it was an opportunity to create a lot of value.

“We believe in Daniel. Excited to see what he’s going to do .. he’s more comfortable, he’s more prepared. It’ll be fun to see what happens when we finally get the full complement of players out there.”

Offensive line

Retirements of Joe Looney and Zach Fulton ...

“That stuff happens ... Obviously we didn’t expect those guys to retire, but they had their reasons, it’s their lives, I wish ‘em the best and I respect the decisions they made. They made tough decisions. Training camp’s not over, the roster-building season never ends. We’ll get to where we need to be ... every day we’re looking ... I’ve learned that if you have patience stuff happens. All of a sudden a player becomes available that you weren’t expecting.”

Starters ...

“Four of the five starters were out there Saturday night (vs. the Jets) and the offensive line really played pretty well.”

Kyle Rudolph

It wouldn’t have been a Gettleman press conference if he hadn’t created some confusion. He confused everyone in talking about tight end Kyle Rudolph. The story in the spring was that Rudolph’s need for foot surgery was discovered by Giants doctors after the veteran tight end had agreed to a free-agent deal with the team. The Giants then went through with the deal.

Gettleman contradicted that on Tuesday, seeming to say the Giants knew all along that Rudolph would need that surgery.

“We knew about it all along,” Gettleman said. “We didn’t go into this blind.”

Asked directly if he knew before signing him that Rudolph needed surgery, Gettleman said “yeah.”

On Joe Judge and the future

“I love Joe and the process that he’s brought, that we’ve brought. We’ve worked really hard since I got here in terms of not only on the field operations but off the field operations. We’ve made big changes in our football operations.

“Really and truly my goal when I got here is whenever I leave here, however I leave here, that we’ve set this team up ... I feel like we’ve done that. Excited to see what’s going to happen. ...

“Joe and I are partners. We have a shared vision. We see ball the same way.”

Gettleman would take Saquon again

Gettleman’s decision to draft Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft has long been a subject of debate, ridiculed by analytically-oriented types. They point out that a running back, no matter how talented, is not good value at that point.

Gettleman continues to believe he made the right decision.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Gettleman said. “Stuff happens, not everything’s perfect and there are guys all over this league who get hurt, big-time players. He’s done a great job and I feel the same way about him. He’s different and he’s going to be ready to go when he’s ready to go.”

What about the idea that running backs have a shorter shelf life than players at other positions?

“I don’t know that that’s true,” Gettleman said. “Really and truly, you can talk about injuries at any position. I would not make a different decision than I made in 2018, plain and simple.”