The Dave Gettleman era as general manager of the New York Giants is over. The Giants Monday announced that Gettleman is retiring.
Gettleman’s four seasons as GM were obviously uncuccessful. Hired to succeed Jerry Reese at the end of an awful 3-13 season in 2017, Gettleman presided over four successive double-digit loss seasons:
- 2018: 5-11
- 2019: 4-12
- 2020: 6-10
- 2021: 4-13
The Giants are 19-46 (a .292 winning percentage) during Gettleman’s tenure. Only the Detroit Lions (17-46-2), New York Jets (17-48) and Jacksonville Jaguars (15-50) have been worse during that time period.
We have previously gone over many of the mistakes of Gettleman’s tenure, but let’s summarize them here.
Gettleman’s first offseason with the Giants in 2018 had disastrous consequences for the franchise.
The Giants hired Pat Shurmur as head coach and paired him with Gettleman. Two years later, they fired Shurmur. Hiring and firing Shurmur was ownership’s decision, but Gettleman was involved in the process of hiring him.
Gettleman signed offensive tackle Nate Solder, offensive guard Patrick Omameh and running back Jonathan Stewart in free agency. Omameh and Stewart quickly washed out. Solder has become a symbol of the failure to build a functional offensive line.
Gettleman traded away Jason Pierre-Paul, who is still playing at a high level for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for draft capital that became B.J. Hill and Kyle Lauletta. Neither is with the Giants any longer. Gettleman traded for Alec Ogletree.
In the draft, Gettleman went against conventional positional value wisdom and drafted Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall. He could have taken a quarterback — Josh Allen, Sam Darnold or even Lamar Jackson — or traded down. He took guard Will Hernandez in Round 2. That pick was widely praised, but Hernandez has not developed and almost certainly won’t get a second contract with the Giants.
In 2019, Gettleman ended up with three first-round picks. He chose Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. Many felt that was far too early to take Jones, and the quarterback has yet to make Gettleman right. Dexter Lawrence has been good, but has he really justified the 17th overall pick. The trade up from No. 37 to No. 30 to draft Deandre Baker proved to be foolish as Baker lasted just one unproductive season with the Giants.
Despite an initial promise that fixing the offensive line would be his top priority, that line has been a problem throughout Gettleman’s tenure and was in disarray in 2021.
The one time in his career Gettleman did trade down in the draft, going from No. 11 to No. 20 in the 2021 draft, may have backfired. The Giants gave up the opportunity to select either Micah Parsons, the likely Defensive Rookie of the Year, or Rashawn Slater, who has been dominant at left tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers. The Giants drafted Kadarius Toney, who has been unable to stay on the field and has not inspired confidence he can be a foundational player. The Giants do have the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft from that deal, and hitting a home run with it could still make that move worthwhile.
Speaking of foundational players and difference-makers, there are few of them on the roster Gettleman had four years to craft.
In my view, Gettleman’s biggest failing as a general manager for the Giants was in not understanding value.
Examples include the Barkley pick, the Ogletree trade, the move up for Baker, numerous overpays in free agency and going heavy into free agency in 2021 when the salary cap was reduced for the first time in history have left the Giants in a cap-strapped state heading into 2022.
Gettleman was with the Giants from 1998 thru 2012. He was pro personnel director from 1999 thru 2011, and served as a senior pro personnel analyst in 2012. His NFL career began as a BLESTO scout with the Buffalo Bills in 1986.
“It was a privilege to serve as the general manager of the New York Giants the last four years and to have spent so many years of my career with this franchise,” said Gettleman. “We obviously have not had the on-the-field success I expected, and that is disappointing. However, I have many fond memories here, including two Super Bowl victories, and I wish the team and organization only the best moving forward. There are many good people here who pour their souls into this organization. I am proud to have worked alongside them.”
Former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum told the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast recently that despite the losing of the last decade and the reports of front office dysfunction, he believes the Giants’ GM job is a desirable one.
“They have a lot of really good young skill players,” Tannenbaum said. “I think this is a team and a situation that can be a quick turnaround just in terms of if the quarterback situation gets worked out. With Kadarius Toney, Saquon Barkley, amongst many others I think they have a great group of young skill players.”
Will the Giants look in-house for their next GM? That would likely mean Kevin Abrams, assistant GM for more than two decades, would finally get to sit in the big chair.
Will they look for someone with ties to head coach Joe Judge or to the New England Patriots, where Judge was the special teams coach before taking the Giants job? He is a list of candidates who might fit that criteria.
Will they look beyond either of those parameters and simply try to find the best candidate, regardless of ties to the Giants organization or any history with Judge? If that happens, here is a list of candidates to be aware of.
Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are promising a “comprehensive search” for Gettleman’s successor.
“This will be a comprehensive search for our next general manager,” said Mara. “We are looking for a person who demonstrates exceptional leadership and communication abilities, somebody who will oversee all aspects of our football operations, including player personnel, college scouting and coaching.”
Added Tisch, “It is an understatement to say John and I are disappointed by the lack of success we have had on the field. We are united in our commitment to find a general manager who will provide the direction necessary for us to achieve the on-field performance and results we all expect.”