New York Giants’ Dave Gettleman retires | Looking back at GM’s failed tenure

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Dave Gettleman oversaw one of the losingest stretches in NY Giants franchise history and in the NFL over the past four seasons, and leaves his successor much work to do

Dave Gettleman retired as general manager of the New York Giants on Monday,  in the aftermath of his fourth consecutive losing season since being hired in 2018, ending a failed tenure littered with NFL Draft miscalculations and free agent blunders.

Following Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Washington Football Team, the Giants finished Gettleman’s tenure with a18-47 record, an organizational failure that can be linked back to many of Gettleman’s decisions in constructing a high-priced roster that largely lacks blue-chip building-block players.

Gettleman left the New York Giants in no better condition — and arguably further away from relevancy — than when he was hired by owner John Mara to replace Jerry Reese, following the 2017 season.

“You can’t put a timeframe on anything, you really can’t,” Gettleman said during his introductory press conference. “I’m not going to sit up here and tell you I’m going to fix it in two years, because John’s going to run me out of the building.”

Mara might not have run Gettleman out of the building, until after his fourth season, but the simple fact remains that after Gettleman’s departure, his successor must replace four starting offensive lineman, with only 2020 No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas earmarked as a long-term starter.

Gettleman, after making Nate Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL at the time of signing, inking Patrick Omameh to a $15 million contract during his first offseason, whiffing on Matt Peart in the NFL Draft and allowing eventually serviceable starters along the line such as Ereck Flowers and Justin Pugh to walk out of the building leaves the Giants’ offensive line in shambles.

Perhaps Gettleman’s time as New York Giants general manager was destined for this end when he invested the No. 2 overall pick in Saquon Barkley, after the running back’s prolific career at Penn State. Barkley entered the NFL Draft with all of the physical tools to be a game-changer, but has missed 21 games due to a high ankle sprain, torn ACL, and an ankle injury this season, which have become unfortunate hallmarks of running backs in today’s NFL.

Without a consistently dominant offensive line, it was fool-hearted for Gettleman to believe Barkley could replicate his success in college, in New York, despite bursting onto the scene by producing 2,028 yards from scrimmage as a rookie.

Even before drafting Barkley, Gettleman donated $6.8 million to running back Jonathan Stewart’s retirement fund, in one of the bigger free agency blunders of the past five years. Stewart logged only six carries in a Giants uniform.

Along the way, Gettleman signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a five-year contract extension worth $90 million in July 2018, only to trade him to the Cleveland Browns in March 2019. Gettleman also invested a third-round supplemental pick in oft-injured cornerback Sam Beal, a first-round pick in cornerback DeAndre Baker, who was ultimately released by the NY Giants in 2020 following an armed robbery arrest.

Just this past offseason, Gettleman veered violently off course from an organization seemingly aiming to rebuild through the draft, committing $45 million in free agency to wide receiver Kenny Golladay and $12 million over two years to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Between them, they have one touchdown reception, caught by Rudolph.

Beyond overseeing one of the worst stretches in franchise history and one of the losingest teams over the past four seasons, Gettleman leaves New York with under $4 million in cap space entering 2022.

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