Even when the New York Giants win, they lose.
That was the sentiment conveyed by ESPN NFL reporter Kimberley A. Martin during a segment on Wednesday’s episode of Get Up. The segment was about the Giants’ recent success, and Martin argued that New York is undermining its future rebuilding efforts by winning too many games this year.
Here’s a clip of the segment, courtesy of Talkin’ MMA on Twitter:
“Just being mediocre in the middle of the pack doesn’t help you,” Martin said on ESPN. “Be terrible. Get a high draft pick. Like, you gotta think about the rebuild. Honestly, you gotta think about the rebuild. With the Giants, there’s a future beyond just this season. And with so many question marks, I don’t — them making the playoffs is great for the fans and our staff, I love it. But, then a lot of questions need to be answered after that.”
Former Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty was on the Get Up panel when Martin delivered this take, and his face said it all.
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Brian Daboll, the Giants are 4-1 and off to their best start since 2009. On their way to this unexpectedly hot start, they’ve pulled off improbable comebacks against the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers (both away from home). Their other two wins have come against the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears.
Although the Giants are tied for the second best record in the NFL, they’re currently stuck in third place in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) are in first place as the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team, and the Dallas Cowboys (4-1) own a tie-breaker over the Giants after beating them head-to-head on Monday Night Football in Week 3.
Are Wins Hurting the Giants’ Rebuilding Efforts?
When it comes to setting up a successful rebuild, managing the salary cap is a lot more important than wins and losses. Giants general manager Joe Schoen inherited a financial mess from former GM Dave Gettleman. Therefore, New York’s front office is pretty limited when it comes to how much it can spend this season.
The Giants rank in the bottom half of the league with less than $4 million in 2022 salary cap space, according to Over-The-Cap.com. But in 2023, they rank fourth in the NFL with north of $61 million to spend, and on top of that they have a whopping $175 million to spend in 2024.
If the Giants start dipping into those future reserves in an effort to acquire players to help them compete this year (either via free agency or a trade), then you could make an argument that they are putting the rebuilding effort in peril. So far, they haven’t done that.
That’s not what Martin argued, though; she said the Giants should be tanking for a better draft pick. While that logic is sound, recent history has proved that a better draft pick does not equal guaranteed success on the field.
Do Higher Draft Picks Always Equal More Wins?
The Giants know this well. Let’s take a look back over the years and analyze some of New York’s first-round picks to illustrate this.
2014: Odell Beckham Jr. (12th overall). Great player, helped them reach the playoffs once but did not bring lasting success and was ultimately traded away.
2015: Ereck Flowers (9th overall). A top-10 pick that was mostly a laughing stock during his tenure with the Giants.
2016: Eli Apple (10th overall). Same story as Flowers.
2017: Evan Engram (23rd overall). A frustratingly gifted tight end who wasn’t much of a blocker and often struggled to catch the ball.
2018: Saquon Barkley (2nd overall). A generational talent who did not help the Giants win games until this season.
2019: Daniel Jones (6th overall), Dexter Lawrence (17th overall), Deandre Baker (30th overall). Baker is out of the league, and Jones/Lawrence have both made a sudden leap this year under Brian Daboll…coincidence?
2020: Andrew Thomas (4th overall). Originally looked like a bust but started to show signs of growth last year and is now one of the best linemen in the league.
2021: Kadarius Toney (20th overall). Let’s not go there.
The jury is still out on the 2022 first rounders, but as you can see from this rundown, having high draft picks (or multiple first-rounders) does not automatically make the team better. Quality coaching does, though, and that’s what the Giants appear to finally have in Daboll.
The rebuilding job will take care of itself so long as New York continues to establish a winning culture.
Hey lady, you gotta give the fans something. You got to give other players a reason to even talk to the Giants in free agency, more loses don’t get it done. You don’t get on national broadcasts by losing. Fans are spending enough money and you want them to be OK with MORE losing!