A message to irrational New York Giants fans

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09: A New York Giants fan looks on in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09: A New York Giants fan looks on in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) /
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Far too many New York Giants fans are overwhelmingly negative about the state of the franchise. Here are some reasons to be positive about what has transpired.

Following an article I wrote about how Dave Gettleman was able to get some vindication after a big win against division rival Washington, a decent percentage of New York Giants fans indicated that they felt Gettleman did not deserve praise and or vindication, on any level. Some felt it was premature to give him any credit. Others suggested that unless the Giants were able to beat specific contenders, make the playoffs or win the Super Bowl, that it would not be a successful year for the Giants and Dave Gettleman.

Many continued to harbor resentment over the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, the fact that the Giants opted to bench Eli Manning in favor of Daniel Jones or astonishingly, that the Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the 2018 draft.  Many suggested that the Giants had failed in the draft, that they should have done more in free agency or that they botched all of the trades that have been made under Gettleman. The somewhat consistent negative feedback left me perplexed and determined to delve into this in greater detail.

First, I must preface this by stating that I was simply trying to convey that the play of the Big Blue last week made their moves look better than those made by the Washington Redskin by comparison – it was not a stamp of approval on the overall job that Gettleman is doing. Admittedly it is premature to grade his results, as the Giants are in the midst of the first year of Gettleman’s engineered rebuild.  However, that does not preclude us from examining the results of the players he has drafted, traded for or signed, and make an initial determination of how the moves look currently. Minus the ability to foresee the future, that is all we are able to do.

To say that the Giants will only be successful this year if they defeat teams such as the Patriots, Vikings, Bears, Packers or any other contending team is doing this young team an injustice. Many Giants fans suggest that a win against the hapless Redskins or the gifted victory against the Buccaneers somehow don’t count – I would argue the exact opposite. The success of the 2019 Giants should be measured against other teams who currently reside in the rebuilding process, not against teams expected to be playoff contenders.

A better measuring stick will be how they perform against teams such as the Buccaneers, Redskins, Cardinals, Jets, and Dolphins – all whom are currently going through rebuilds of their own. Anyone who expects a young team in which 50% of the starters are either rookies or second year players, may want to rethink their expectations. This team was not expected to contend, after finishing with the sixth worst record in the NFL last year and the second worst the previous year, and finally deciding to tear it down and rebuild this year.

As for the trade of Odell Beckham Jr., I contend it was the right move for a team deciding to rebuild. Beckham Jr. is undoubtedly a generational talent at wide- receiver, but paying a wide-out $18-million annually when your team is up against the salary cap, and has major holes throughout the roster, is not prudent. If fans want to chastise Gettleman for signing Beckham Jr. to an extension only to trade him a year later, or for saying that he was part of the Giants future and then trading him immediately after, that is reasonable.

However, taking emotions out of the equation, trading Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon was the sensible thing to do.  While it negatively impacted the salary cap this year -as the Giants were forced to eat dead salary against the cap- it freed up a lot of money going forward. In addition, the Giants were able to improve the offensive line by adding a former Pro Bowl guard, Kevin Zeitler, at a reasonable rate. The trade also allowed the Giants to add an athletic safety in Jabril Peppers to replace recently departed Landon Collins, saving the Giants roughly $10 million annually from what they would have had to pay Collins.

If those weren’t enough reasons to make the move, the Giants also were able to get the Browns 17th overall pick in the 2019 draft, which they used to select Dexter Lawrence, who was arguably the best player on an absolutely-dominant Clemson defense last year. In the process, the Giants were able to upgrade three areas of need while clearing almost $30 million annually in what would have been paid to the trio of Beckham Jr., Vernon and Collins versus what they will pay for Zietler, Peppers and Lawrence. For a team that has the least amount of cap space in the NFL in 2019, that is no small feat.

The handling of the transition from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones was dealt with by the Gettleman and Pat Shurmur regime as smoothly as one could expect. This is in stark contrast to when the combination of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo inexplicably decided to end Eli’s consecutive games started streak in favor of  backup quarterback, Geno Smith, who had shown nothing that indicated he should start since he lost the Jets starting job in 2015.  After botching the decision to bench Eli, effectively ending his streak, the combination of McAdoo and Reese immediately pivoted back to Eli, before being promptly fired by Giants ownership for their mishandling of the situation.

Compare that to the fact that Shurmur and Gettleman spoke in depth with Eli Manning regarding the decision, and even went as far as Shurmur calling the former coach of Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin, to let him know, it becomes obvious which regime handled the situation better. Clearly while difficult, Eli has handled the decision by the Giants to transition to Jones as the starting quarterback with the utmost dignity, indicative of what a consummate professional he is.

In my opinion, it is unclear what more Saquon Barkley must do to prove that he is a generational talent at the running back position and that he was absolutely the right choice with the second overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft.  Barkley was able to accumulate over 2,000 all-purpose yards with 15 touchdowns while winning the NFL’s  Offensive Rookie of the Year award.  Despite only being in his second year, Barkley has been able to establish himself as arguably the best running back in the NFL. His abilities are unlike any other to play the position before him and if he can stay healthy, he has the potential to be a Hall of Fame caliber running back for a long time. Given the success of Daniel Jones in the preseason and two regular season games he has started, it appears as though the Giants may have found both their franchise quarterback and running back of the future in a span of just two years.


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Any suggestion that the Giants have not done well in the draft in the two years that General Manager Dave Gettleman has been at the helm, is asinine. The successes of Barkley and Jones are well documented. Will Hernandez is quickly becoming a top-notch guard in the NFL.  Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Ryan Connelly and RJ McIntosh have all shown ability to perform at a high level at the linebacker position.  Dexter Lawrence and BJ Hill have been stalwarts on the defensive line.

Cornerbacks, Deandre Baker and Corey Ballentine have shown the ability to play lock down defense.  Julian Love has seen limited time as he is still transitioning from playing cornerback at Notre Dame to the safety position for the Giants, but was regarded by many draft experts, as a steal in last year’s draft.  Darius Slayton demonstrated the speed that led the Giants to draft him in the fifth round in this year’s draft, hauling in a crucial long pass from Jones against the Buccaneers that put the Giants in scoring position.  Sam Beal was hailed by many draft experts as a potential steal with the supplemental third round pick last year. Unfortunately, he has struggled with injuries and finds himself on the injured reserve for the second straight year.

The two seventh-round picks by the Giants in the 2019 draft were considered picks who would be developmental players. George Asafo-Adjei, a giant offensive lineman out of Kentucky, received praises from coaches for his ability, but would suffer a concussion that would land him on the injured reserve to start the year. Chris Slayton, the other seventh round pick for the Giants is currently on the practice squad. Dave Gettleman has had 17 draft picks in two years, 13 have contributed to the team. The only definite miss has been 2018 fourth round pick, Kyle Lauletta, whom the Giants moved on from once they drafted Jones. That is a very solid stick rate from any general manager and is a very stark contrast from the poor drafting skills of Jerry Reese.

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Any notion that Gettleman should have done more in free agency can be mostly put to rest by the fact that there was little room under the salary cap to add any big named players. Even if it were possible, it would not have been fiscally responsible to try to do so while also attempting to rebuild the roster.  That is why low-cost veteran options like Antoine Bethea and free agents looking to rekindle past successes, such as Markus Golden or Mike Remmers were the more prudent signings.

The initial success and reasons behind the Beckham Jr. and Vernon trade have already been outlined. The trade for Alec Ogletree and a seventh-round pick for a fourth-round and sixth-round pick made sense last year, as the Giants had a need for a linebacker that fit James Bettcher’s system and Ogletree did not fit the 4-3 scheme that the Rams transitioned to. In addition, trading Jason Pierre-Paul, Brett Jones, Eli Apple, Snacks Harrison and BJ Goodson for draft picks made perfect sense for a team trying to shed salaries and gain draft capital.

Those subsequent trades landed the Giants Kyle Lauletta, BJ Hill, Chris Slayton, Julian Love, George Asafo-Adeji and two seventh round picks in 2020. However, perhaps more importantly, it positioned the Giants to be flush with cash under the salary cap in 2020. With the four compensatory picks that were awarded to the Giants due to other teams signing Landon Collins, Mario Edwards, Josh Mauro and Kerry Wynn, the Giants now have 12 draft picks in next year’s draft. That positions them extremely well to add young impact players to an already young athletic roster. In addition, the cap space that they will have available will allow them to add solid veteran players, further accelerating the rebuild process.

When taking into account all of these factors, the initial reaction should be that Dave Gettleman and the Giants brass are doing an exceptional job of quickly rebuilding the Giants franchise that was left in shambles by Jerry Reese. Granted, there are a lot of variables that could change the course of the Giants fate and some of these moves could be prove to be shown in a negative light in the future.

But, as great Yogi Masters teach, “be mindful & live in the present”.  The present seems to be looking solid for the Giants and if it is any indication of the future, then the future looks bright. Therefore, it is completely acceptable for Giants fans to be cautiously optimistic.

It is okay to acknowledge that we are not able to predict the future and at the same time embrace the positives of the present while exuding hope and confidence in what the future holds for the Giants.