New York Giants’ GM vacancy a sneakily attractive opening

Michael Strahan, far left, hugs New York Giants co-owner John Mara as co-owner Steve Tisch (Image via The Record)
Michael Strahan, far left, hugs New York Giants co-owner John Mara as co-owner Steve Tisch (Image via The Record) /

Despite a lack of cap space, the New York Giants might be one of the more desirable general manager openings this offseason 

There are a lot of reasons a potential candidate might run away from the New York Giants general manager vacancy.

From entering this offseason with less than $3 million in cap space, a tremendous amount of uncertainty at the quarterback position, a roster that has won just 19 games over the past three seasons, and an owner who has fired three consecutive head coaches in two years or fewer … to name a few reasons why candidates might run to “better” openings.

However, with a pair of top-five picks in the upcoming NFL Draft and a handful of blue chip players (left tackle Andrew Thomas, wide receiver Kadarius Toney, safety Xavier McKinney), and the flexibility to open up more spending, Pro Football Focus lists the Giants‘ vacancy as the second-most attractive for prospective general managers this offseason:

"No. 2: New York GiantsTop-100 Draft Picks: No. 5, No. 7, No. 36, No. 69, No. 81It will take a reset year, but there’s a solid young core to work with in East Rutherford. Gettleman’s downfall was handing out bloated free-agent deals. The list of players making $10+ million on the Giants’ roster is easily the worst such list in the NFL:DT Leonard Williams, $21 million APYWR Kenny Golladay, $18 million APYCB James Bradberry, $14.5 million APYCB Adoree’ Jackson, $39 million APYLB Blake Martinez, $10.25 million APYWR Sterling Shepard, $10.25 million APYS Logan Ryan, $10 million APYWhen those are your highest-paid players, you have no chance of competing. Because of that, though, they could easily clear $30 million in cap space without the roster even feeling an impact.For an incoming GM, Gettleman actually left a modicum of talent on rookie contracts. Guys like defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, left tackle Andrew Thomas, safety Xavier McKinney and wide receiver Kadarius Toney all look like building blocks you can rely on to be quality starters.Of course, there’s still the elephant in the room: quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s certainly an NFL-caliber starter. That being said, he’s never been close to a high-end starter or put up anything close statistically, even dating back to his college days at Duke.Even if Jones does see a nice bump in production in 2022 under a new coaching staff, the incoming GM immediately has to pay him either with the fifth-year option or an extension. Given that they own two top-10 picks, the Giants may opt to take another swing there — even in a relatively weak quarterback class — and are well-situated to get whichever one they deem to be the top guy in the class."

Whoever New York Giants owner John Mara tabs to replace Gettleman will likely be tasked with clearing the deck of high-priced veterans, and would be wise to trade anyone with value around the league for additional draft capital and cap relief.

If the New York Giants fan find a market for players like Barkley, Bradberry, Jackson, and even Jones to accelerate any salary cap issues to this offseason in an effort to create cap space in 2023 with additional draft picks in hand, there’s a chance this could be a quick rebuild.

It will take, however, the right kind of executive capable of deftly maneuvering the cap with the fortitude to withstand trading away star players this season and a head coach who understands the situation and is willing to sacrifice a year of losing for potential long-term success, for this strategy to work.

But, from the sounds of it, there is no shortage of interest in the job.

"“All I can tell you is based on the number of inquiries that I have had from prospective candidates, ” Mara said Tuesday. “We’re not going to be able to interview even 20 percent of all them. This is a very desirable job.”"

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