New York Giants: Dave Gettleman paints himself into a QB corner

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: Dwayne Haskins Jr. #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass down field in the game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: Dwayne Haskins Jr. #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass down field in the game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is a product of the NFL through and through.

After teaching and coaching at the high school level in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Gettleman landed with the Buffalo Bills as a scouting intern, and thus began his 30+ year NFL career. During that span, he’s faced many challenges as an executive. Now the veteran general manager of the New York Giants has to prepare for life without quarterback Eli Manning.

It’s his primary task this offseason.

Sure there will be the perfunctory cuts and signings of free agents to fill several voids on defense. None of those things will matter unless and until Gettleman addresses his biggest hole – the guy who will run the offense. In fact, running back Saquon Barkley’s future depends on Gettleman getting this task completed effectively.

That’s where the difficulty comes in.

In and of itself, the NFL seems to be a study in human relations and contradiction. It certainly prides itself on being cutting edge, but it also hates change. It’s also a place that’s prone to over-reaction.

When you hear Gettleman talk, you get the impression that fear of something paralyzed Gettleman into drafting running back Saquon Barkley. No question that Barkley was pretty much a “sure-thing” as could be in the 2018 NFL Draft. Gettleman said he can see Barkley trying on that gold jacket, which is an interesting observation in and of itself.

Shouldn’t the objective be to lift the Lombardi Trophy?

Anyway, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is littered with top end running backs who never won a Super Bowl championship. We’re talking about guys like Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Barry Sanders, O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas.

Now, hopefully Dave Gettleman understands that the NFL has become largely a passing league. While it’s nice to have a stud running back, you definitely need effective quarterback play to win championships.

Previously, the New York Giants won the big game with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, both very effective backs, but neither is getting enshrined in Canton. Tiki Barber, on the other hand, the best back in team history, and he doesn’t have a ring.

On the other hand, the New York Giants won championships, twice, with Eli Manning under center. Well, according to Mr. Gettleman before last season, the New York Giants have a Super Bowl winning quarterback, as well as stud (future Hall of Fame) running back, what could go wrong?

If you listened to Gettleman’s end-of-year presser, the 5-11 record wasn’t as bad as it looked. Sure, the New York Giants would have liked to win a few more games, but nothing totally unexpected happened in 2018. And to get in front of the quarterback questions, Gettleman opened his press conference by stating he had a “no holds barred” discussion with Manning already.

To channel an inner Lt. Daniel Kaffey in A Few Good Men – if everything went according to plan in 2018, then why was it necessary to have the private “brutally honest” meeting with Manning?

(Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images) /

Hopefully, Gettleman didn’t think that was the end of it, because having a conversation with Manning amounts to zero, zip, zilch to most New York Giants fans out there. They want to know what that exactly means moving forward.

Is Manning the quarterback in 2019? Is the team moving on from Manning in 2019?


Back to the press conference, and then the moment of truth arrived, in the form of questions about the quarterback position.

Gettleman pushed himself into over-drive to say something while still saying nothing. So when the topic came to actually committing to Eli Manning for 2019, well that’s where things got dicey.


"“Here’s what I’m committed to do. I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s what I’m committed to do. We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. We’re going to meet this week with the coaches and get their evaluation. We’ll meet next week with pro personnel and get their evaluations and get their feelings on everything.”"

Now, Trader Dave knows there’s now a trust deficit out there, and yet there’s no way to measure how deep it is among fans and scribes. The team went from competitive in March to “complete overhaul” in January. People noticed the obvious disconnect. But Eli Manning continues represents Gettleman’s and a large part of the fan base’s safety blanket.

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In fact, some can’t imagine life without No. 10 under center.

Yet so much changed, except the most important cog, and to hear it from the general manager’s mouth, nothing was out-of-the-ordinary.

Keep moving – nothing to see here.

Truthfully, this season wasn’t just about Jerry Reese’s talent drain problem, even though it was a factor. Clearly, some of Gettleman’s hand-picked reinforcements weren’t up to snuff either. Safety Curtis Riley, guard Patrick Omameh and cornerback B.W. Webb to name a few.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, so Gettleman likely knows he’s on the clock with eyes clearly focused on the quarterback position. And given the fact that the NFL pretty much hypes and over-reacts to everything, it’s a good bet that Gettleman overpays for Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, so he can wear a scripted NY baseball cap next April.

Here’s the potential cost, according to CardsWire:

"“Cardinals get: No. 6 overall (1400), No. 37 overall (510), a 2020 first-round selection and second-round picks in 2021 and 2022.”"

Gettleman can envision Haskins being fitted for a gold jacket someday – at that price count on it.

In the meantime, expect the Giants to add a one-year extension to Manning’s contract that gives some salary cap relief, but also an easy out for Eli and the franchise in 2020. He can then mentor Haskins around akin to what Kurt Warner did for him back in the day.

Keep in mind that drafting Haskins does zero to buttress the failing New York Giants defense, which was the main culprit in the 5-11 record, according to, you guessed it, Gettleman.

Gettleman also gets to fall back onto his vaunted film study and see much, if not all of the same things everyone saw live in 2018. He’ll see a 38-year old quarterback, who looks more his age every time he steps on the field. As far as the offensive line, it’s better, not a finished product, and it never will be. And keep this in mind, even if we put Kareem McKenzie, Chris Snee, Shaun O’Hara, David Diehl and Rich Seubert in front of Manning, how much better would he be?

light. Related Story. New York Giants: Dave Gettleman and his magic game film

The entire film study ruse becomes a deflection for Gettleman to slow walk and over-react to the quarterback controversy. A controversy that he should have seen coming. The only way out is now for Gettleman to move up and draft the former Buckeyes signal-caller. It’s called painting yourself into a corner.