EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman pointed to the “progress” the team has made on and off the field that has set the foundation for the future as justification for being retained for a third year, despite the firing of coach Pat Shurmur.
His list of reasons include:
Finding a franchise quarterback. “I really believe we’ve done that,” Gettleman said after leading the selection of Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall in the draft earlier this year.
Redoing the team’s scouting system, at both the college and pro levels. The Giants have installed a new grading system for prospects since Gettleman’s arrival.
Hiring “four computer folks” who are assisting in the overhaul of the back end of their college and pro systems.
Hiring a full-time staff psychologist to help players.
Ramping up the “analytic and technology piece.”
Gettleman, 68, even mentioned meeting recently with a “big-time analytics guy” in his quest to learn and be open-minded.
This is what Gettleman seems to have presented to ownership during substantive discussions over the past few weeks. It earned him some more time.
“We’re doing a lot of things behind the scenes. … That is where we are going,” Gettleman said. “I know sometimes it’s difficult with the instant gratification piece. That is where we are going. I feel good about the direction we’re in.”
The Giants went 4-12 this season and were 9-23 in two years under Shurmur and Gettleman. Shurmur was fired Monday on what co-owner John Mara described as being as much a gut instinct as anything. Mara said he felt the Giants should have won more games, even given the admittedly flawed roster that Gettleman assembled.
Gettleman said they were “fine” with bringing back Eli Manning at $23 million against the salary cap this season for three starts. He said nobody will know for another two years whether the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns was the right move.
He said he understands that scrutiny comes with the job and that he is interviewing for his position every day and needs to do better.
“Not good enough,” Gettleman said, assessing his own performance. “It will get better.”
Mara noted during his news conference Monday that Gettleman needs to increase his batting average on personnel decisions. There were also some hints that the Giants could make changes in personnel or to the way they do things.
“We’re all on notice,” Gettleman said.
He added that if a new head coach persuaded ownership to increase the coach’s personnel power, Gettleman would be willing to do whatever is in the best interest of the Giants.
Gettleman will try to get it right working alongside the new head coach. He has no choice.
He was complimentary of Shurmur, calling him “as fine a man as I’ve ever worked with” and saying decisions over the past two years were collaborative.
One decision that Gettleman was forced to defend was the midseason trade for defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The Giants sent a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Jets. The fifth-rounder can become a fourth-rounder if Williams re-signs before the league year.
That was a head-scratcher with the Giants 2-6 at the time of the trade and Williams being an impending free agent. Gettleman defended the move, saying essentially that the team paid for eight games of information on Williams with draft capital.
Worst case, Gettleman said he assumes they can get a third-round compensatory pick the following year if Williams leaves as a free agent. That would be possible only if the Giants, who are expected to be more than $70 million under the salary cap heading into free agency, aren’t big spenders.
“Bottom line is we felt it was worth the deal,” said Gettleman, adding that Williams told him Monday he wants to return.
Gettleman made the point that Williams is only 25 and that the Giants’ rookies played the most snaps in the NFL this season — just another reason he feels good about the direction in which the team is headed and that success is in its future.
But in Gettleman’s mind, it “depends on how quickly the puppies come along.” Beginning with Jones and his two draft classes.