To look at the New York Giants 2020 season, you have to go back to the end of the 2019 season. We need to go back to the 12/31/19 press conference with Dave Gettleman. It was described by New York Giants beat writer, Steve Serby, in his article: “Dave Gettleman in one corner, the media in the other, they should have held this one inside the squared circle at Madison Square Garden.”
It had to be cantankerous if they beat writers who were doing their job. The Giants had the worst record, 12-36, over the last 3 seasons. They were dead last in wins. In those 3 years, their record was worse than the Browns, Bengals, and Cardinals. They are the new Cleveland Browns.
Gettleman said that it was a roster-building season. He said that he didn’t sign OBJ to trade him. I think he got good compensation especially given what O’Brien got for Hopkins! He said that they would do more with analytics, they were hiring 4 computer people. This is long overdue as tons of data can help you make the right decisions. They were in the Stone Age in this area. This has been sorely lacking vis a vis, other teams. He said that they were “evaluating everything”. He said we live in a blame society. However, there is plenty of blame for him and the Giants’ organization for the past 3 years. He said he knew what a Super Bowl team looks like because he has been a part of them. He said that his first order of business was to find a quarterback. He did but is he a 10 to 15-year franchise quarterback? I will comment on that later.
The worst decision of Dave Gettleman’s career was giving up a 3rd round 2020 pick and a 5th round 2021 pick for Leonard Williams. The New York Jets were dancing in the streets when they got rid of him. Williams was the 6th OVERALL pick in the NFL draft. For comparison, Aaron Donald was drafted 13th. I have no idea why Gettleman is interested in this underachieving player. He has 17.5 sacks in 5 years. He had 1 sack last year in 15 games (0.5 with the Jets and 0.5 with the Giants). He was going to be a free agent. He could have grabbed him in free agency. He could have signed him for a market deal. He brought him in and now cannot sign him to a long-term deal. Now we are stuck paying him $16.1M tag amount this year. He was indignant with that amount and is filing a grievance because he wants to be paid as a DE and get more money. He is delusional and thinks he should be paid $18-20M! I say for what! Now he thinks he’s Reggie White! If they do settle on a long-term deal, it will be for stupid money that he does not deserve.
Gettleman said in the press conference that Williams was a “disruptive force inside”. He felt that he needed Williams, and that, “the juice was worth the squeeze”. This has become one of the best Gettlemanisms. If they can’t sign him, just cut him. He said in the press conference that he could get a 3rd round compensatory pick for him. I say why not. They are having a losing 2020 season. 2021 is the real push to the playoffs and I will make that point later in the manifesto. Gettleman is the “King of Dead Money” getting rid of Jerry “Reach’s” and his own mistakes. They had $43M in dead money in 2018, $40M in 2019, and they already have $11M in 2020. $2.2M is not their fault as Ellison retired.
Next, the Giants have to hire a head coach to replace the dead man walking, Shurmur. Only 8 days after the 12/31 press conference on January 8th, the Giants hire Joe Judge, from the Patriots. Joe was the special team coordinator and for 2019 the wide receivers’ coach. I went crazy when I heard this. Why wouldn’t they hire McDaniels, if they were going to hire anyone from the Patriots? I wanted an experienced coach.
I thought that we might have a chance to get Rivera but he quickly chose the Redskins. That was puzzling given their 2 decades of losing and a meddling owner in Dan Snyder who always wanted to play GM at times and not making the best football decision.
I thought they may have a chance to get Matt Rhule. When he got a massive 7-year deal, John Mara was not willing to spend $70M on a coach, and he said, I pass! It was reported that he called the Giants before he took the Panthers deal because he wanted to come here. As the late, great George Young always said about contracts, “it’s always about the money.”
I was anxious to hear what Judge was going to say at his press conference. I have to say that I was impressed. It was the “Patriots Way.” That is no-nonsense, no days off. Everyone is accountable, and we will have competition at every position. I like this attitude. It also looked like Joe Judge smiles less than Bill Belichick and that is an accomplishment. He is as serious as a heart attack. It is obviously a winning formula with the last 2 decades of the Patriots as proof. It is a tall task for Judge who has never been a head coach before. Now he has to guide the once proud and storied franchise from the abyss to glory again in the city that never sleeps. It is a big task as his 2 short-lived predecessors found out. They could have double-downed and brought in Scott Pioli to replace Gettleman. Pioli was one of the architects of the original Patriots dynasty at the start of the millennium. They won 3 super bowls in 4 years, 2001-2004.
Dave knows he is on the clock and could be headed to retirement in 2 years. He bought at least 2 years because with a new head coach and a brutal schedule he can buy at least one more year. He has a built-in excuse especially with the pandemic with a new coach, no OTAs, and the usual preseason activities. We don’t even know what training camp will look like. Preseason games are going to be limited to 2 games or canceled.
Next, let’s look at free agency. The Giants signed 14 free agents. The biggest 2 were James Bradberry and Blake Martinez. I will talk about them later in this epistle. Bradberry is a 4-year veteran. He’s not the best corner but he’s probably in the middle or bottom of the top 10. I don’t know if I would have paid him $43.5M for 3 years ($17M 2021 cap hit, $16.5M cap hit in 2022). However, that is probably the going rate.
Other defensive players signed were Kyler Fackrell. LB, Packers. He was a situational player and back up at Green Bay. He only started 9 games in 4 years. He can be good, but the Giants have 10+ Linebackers on the roster. These will be pruned. He’s the 10th most expensive player on the roster but it is only for 1 year. I don’t have a problem with him being signed.
Safety Nate Ebner was signed. Joe Judge brought him from New England where he was primarily a special teams player.
Offensive tackle Cam Fleming was a good depth pick up. Cam is a 6-year veteran from Dallas, with 26 starts and 11 games of playoff experience, mostly with the Patriots. The Giants have lost starters for multiple games for many years except last year. They will need OL depth.
Austin Johnson is a 4-year DT depth player (“Hog-Mollie”) from the Titans. I don’t think he can start but he is there to play situationally to fill in as needed for injuries.
They brought in long snapper Casey Kreiter from Denver where he was for 4 years. He is here to replace 13-year veteran Zak DeOssie.
I don’t understand why they brought in running back, Dion Lewis. He is going to be 30 in September. He had 1 good year in New England. Gettleman is getting “Belichicked” again! Belichick got rid of Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law and Richard Seymour at least a year or two early while they still had value. This is what I call being “Belichicked”! Gettleman got “Belichicked” on signing Nate Solder. At the time we were all desperate for offensive line help because up until this year the OL was ignored for the better part of a decade. They just spent too much money on a player whose talents were declining and the first seven years sucked the juice out of him. This is one player who “the juice was not worth the squeeze!”
Dion Lewis started one game last year and had only 87 yards rushing and receiving with just 1 pass caught. He reminds me of another player that the Giants got “Belichicked” on and that was Shane Vereen. He set a record catching 11 passes as a running back in the Seahawks/Patriots Super Bowl. He was supposed to be a pass-catching 3rd down specialist. He had a nondescript pedestrian 3-year career at the Giants. In 2016 he got hurt and missed 11 games. God help us again if Barkley goes down. The depth chart has Gallman and Hilliman who both should have been cut by now. When Barkley went down, they couldn’t get 2 yards a carry with these two. Then there is Penny who is basically a fullback and short-yardage specialist. The other 2 running backs are rookies, Javon Leake, UFA, and the famous Sandro Platzgummer. I was very surprised they didn’t find another free agent than Lewis or draft a running back in the 5th round or so. With Dion Lewis, it is guaranteed that if you need 3 yards, he will get you 2! I am not a big Lewis fan.
The Giants signed tight ends, Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson. Toilolo is a 7-year veteran who spent 5 years in Atlanta. He was an under-utilized blocking tight end who has averaged less than 1 catches per game that he has played in. Tomlinson is a real journeyman player. He spent his first 3 years with the Jets and last year he was with New England, Giants and Oakland and the Gmen signed him back. With Engram, Kaden Smith, and Toilolo the rest of the tight ends, Kyle Markway and John Rysen, have to hope to make the practice squad.
At quarterback, the Giants brought in Colt McCoy, a 10-year veteran with not a lot of starting experience. However, he is a competent back up that can win you a few games and at the least can hold the fort and you still have a chance to win. I have no idea why the Giants brought in Cooper Rush. He was an undrafted free agent 3rd string back up who has thrown 1 pass in the NFL. They are paying him $1.25M. They still have Alex Tanney on the roster as a backup who is making $1M/year. I would guess that Tanney will be gone since Rush is younger and was brought in by Garrett who has an affinity for him.
Lastly, you have to analyze what happened with the wide receiver free agency. They signed Corey Coleman. This is a joke! Corey Coleman is a bust and a stiff! He was the first wide receiver taken overall in the 2016 draft to the Cleveland Browns. He had 56 receptions in 19 games. He sucked for them so they cut him. The Giants kicked the tires on him in 2018. He was with the Gmen long enough to have a ham sandwich. He had 5 catches on 8 targets. He is out of football in 2019. Bringing him back is a joke for $1.1M, not that it is a lot of money. I don’t think he worth even that. They also resigned Cory Core for $2M. He had a 3-year nondescript career at the Bengals. He is what John Hansen calls a JAG (Just a Guy) He is a good special teams player. Maybe given Judge’s background maybe that’s why they resigned him. Of the top of my head, I can remember one good catch during the 2019 season.
You have to ask yourself why didn’t the Giants add at least 1 wide receiver in the 2020 draft when it was the deepest wide receiver class in history. The reason is that Gettleman made a mistake signing Golden Tate last year to a large 4-year deal! Tate is a clone of Sheppard. He is a slot receiver. The Giants need a real X receiver. Is Slayton that person? He is good and a great 5th round pick by Gettleman. I don’t know if he is a real #1 wideout yet. Hopefully, he can get better. He was limited by some of the better cornerbacks but you can say that for many receivers. He was jammed at the line. He is best used when Jones hits him on the run. If everyone is healthy, you can make the case that he is the fourth receiving target. However, I think he will have a good year. Also, Barkley is a very strong receiving back.
The reason why the Giants did not draft a receiver is that they have over $20M/year tied up in Tate and Sheppard. If they lose one of the top 3, Sheppard, Engram, or Tate, the Giants are in trouble. I am starting to believe that Engram was born at the same hospital as always hurt, King of IR, tight end, Jordan Reed. This is Engram’s make or break year. If he misses 5-6 games again, I would not give him his next contract. Engram missed 13 games in the last 2 years. I would let him go.
I would have drafted Antonio Gandy-Golden in the 4th round this year instead of cornerback Darnay Holmes. Gandy-Golden played on the outside at Liberty. He is a big target at 6’4” and 223 pounds. He ran a 4.6 in the 40-speed but he has good football speed and gets open. He has strong hands and good YAC skills. To rub it in, he rd dash but has quick feet and lateral and short-area quickness with a wide catching radius. 4.6 is not a burner was drafted later in the 4th by the Redskins so the Giants can see his progress twice a year.