6. Letting Landon Collins walk in free agency
Gettleman’s decision to let Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins walk in free agency was met with criticism and contempt from many New York Giants fans. Most wanted Gettleman to maintain their superstar safety and make him the face of the defense for years to come. However, Gettleman saw him as an excellent box safety, who did not fit the defensive scheme of James Bettcher and felt that the safety position was not one worth allocating as much money to as Collins was demanding.
As a result, Gettleman opted to let Collins enter free agency, ultimately deciding to sign a six-year $84 million deal with the division rival Washington Redskins. Gettleman would later fill the void left by Collins, when he received Jabril Peppers from the Cleveland Browns as a part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.
The deal has worked out for the New York Giants thus far, as they have Peppers locked up through through 2021. Peppers is owed only $3.75 million this year and next and is arbitration eligible in 2021, a massive savings over the average annual cost of $14 million that Collins is making. In addition, the team received a third round compensatory pick in next year’s draft, due to Collins signing with the Redskins.
The comparison of stats gives credence to the fact that the Giants benefited by letting Collins walk. Currently, Collins has a stat line of 83 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and two pass deflections. Contrast that with the stat line of Peppers of 71 tackles, three forced fumbles, one interception for a touchdown, and five pass deflections, for a guy who better fits the scheme the Giants defense employs, and it appears that Gettleman landed the better option at safety by trading for Peppers and letting Collins go to Washington. Factor in that Peppers is putting up arguably better numbers than Collins, for almost $12.5 million less annually and this decision looks even better.