The New York Giants are headed in a new and exciting direction under first-year general manager Joe Schoen and his hand-picked head coach, Brian Daboll. Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning confirmed as much, saying recently on NFL Network that the “atmosphere has changed” around the team facility.
While many Giants fans are celebrating the work Schoen and Daboll have done so far, there’s one major thing they could never have accomplished without the help of former GM Dave Gettleman. Dan Duggan of The Athletic recently wrote about Gettleman’s parting “gift” when tasked with identifying the team’s best offseason move of 2022.
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Here’s what Duggan wrote (emphasis added):
General manager Joe Schoen inherited a mess, but one gift from predecessor Dave Gettleman was two picks in the top seven of this year’s draft. After a frugal free agency, Schoen had to nail the draft to jump-start the Giants’ rebuild. Time will tell how No. 5 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux and No. 7 pick Evan Neal turn out, but landing two players at premium positions who were viewed in the conversation for the No. 1 pick is a good start for the new GM.
Gettleman may not have been around to make the selection, but he did acquire what turned out to be the seventh-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft (via trade with the Chicago Bears). The new regime used that pick to select Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, after selecting Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth-overall pick.
Neal and Thibodeaux project to be franchise cornerstones on opposite sides of the ball. If not for Gettleman’s trade with the Bears, the Giants would likely be without one of those two players on the roster right now.
The Giants’ Offseason Outside of Their First Two Draft Picks
When you look back at the offseason as a whole, you realize how big of a deal those two first-round picks were. Perhaps either wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson or tight end Daniel Bellinger can carve out a decent role as a rookie, but the rest of the Giants’ draft class after Round 1 was not widely celebrated by the experts.
Before that, the splashiest free agency addition the Giants could afford was former Indianapolis Colts guard Mark Glowinski, who joined the team on a three-year, $18 million contract. The rest of their offseason was spent clearing cap space with moves such as the release of starting cornerback James Bradberry (who then signed with the Philadelphia Eagles).
Although there have been trade rumors surrounding star players, including Kadarius Toney and Saquon Barkley, the Giants have yet to swing a trade under Schoen (outside of moving up or down in the draft).
Gettleman can take some credit for gifting Schoen and Company an additional first-round pick, but the long-term ramifications of his previous mistakes were a big reason why the new regime’s first offseason was rather muted outside of the Thibodeaux and Neal picks.
How Gettleman Can Get One (or Two) More Laughs
The Giants still have a lot of players on their roster who were brought in on Gettleman’s watch. The two biggest ones are quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones was the sixth-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Giants selected Barkley with the second-overall pick the year before that.
Looking back on these picks, it’s easy to criticize them. Jones has struggled to take hold of the franchise and recently had his fifth-year option turned down, while Barkley has been banged up and largely ineffective since his outstanding rookie year.
If either player can solidify his standing with the new regime and coaching staff this season, Gettleman will have one last chance to say, “I told you so.” If not, there won’t be many notable Gettleman players left on the roster at this time next year.