JANUARY 10: The Giants have not yet started searching for a Martindale replacement and are not planning to until he informs them of an official resignation, per NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo, with this standoff still going. Although Martindale is not technically gone, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan indicates neither side is aiming for a third season to come to pass at this point. Resignations are fairly rare in the NFL, due to the financial component, and it will be interesting to see if Martindale now forces the Giants to fire him.
JANUARY 9: It is fairly clear the Giants’ relationship with Don Martindale will wrap after two seasons. Brought in without ties to Brian Daboll in 2022, Martindale feuded with the 2022 Coach of the Year this season. That beef escalated Monday.
Following Daboll’s decisions to fire two of Martindale’s assistants — brothers Drew and Kevin Wilkins, who came with the defensive coordinator from the Ravens — the veteran DC cursed out Daboll in his office and stormed out of the Giants’ facility, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports. Martindale told people he would resign, but the Giants have not yet heard anything from the outgoing assistant.
Martindale, 60, is owed $3MM for the 2024 season. Resigning would lead to Martindale forfeiting that money, but with one year remaining on the three-year deal the vocal DC signed back in 2022, the Giants can interfere with him landing somewhere else as a defensive coordinator for the ’24 season. Martindale is believed to be flying back to a home he has in Florida, Schwartz adds.
The November report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, which indicated the Daboll-Martindale relationship was in a bad place, came not long after Daboll took issue with Martindale’s approach during the team’s blowout loss to the Cowboys in Week 10. Implementing a conservative gameplan around Tommy DeVito and a depleted secondary in that matchup, Daboll did not approve of Martindale deploying blitz packages as he did during a game in which the Giants allowed 640 yards — second-most in team history. Daboll confronted Martindale about Glazer’s report privately, per Schwartz, but no explanation emerged.
Daboll is believed to have fired Drew Wilkins, the team’s outside linebackers coach, due in part because of a perception he and Martindale were operating in rogue fashion and believing, Schwartz reports, they did not always have to answer to the offense-oriented head coach. This also led to the ouster of Kevin Wilkins, who worked as a defensive assistant. Drew Wilkins had spent 10 seasons with the Ravens, the timeline overlapping entirely with Martindale’s Baltimore stay. Joining the Giants shortly after Martindale, Drew Wilkins operated as a top lieutenant on defense. On his watch, Kayvon Thibodeaux showed progression in Year 2, posting a team-high 11.5 sacks.
Daboll made a point not to be tied to coaches he was previously familiar with, instead assembling an assistant cadre featuring differing backgrounds. After Martindale and ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey‘s ousters, it is worth wondering if the former Bills OC will deviate from that strategy. The Giants finished 26th in scoring defense and 27th in yards allowed, both finishes worse than the team’s 2022 playoff season.
This Martindale matter will be resolved soon, and it marks the second time in three years a team will part ways with the veteran defensive coach. Differing on contract structure in 2022, the Ravens let Martindale go after a four-season DC run. Martindale interviewed twice for the Colts’ HC post last year. After this simmering feud led to this conclusion, it is worth wondering if another team will consider the Super Bowl-winning assistant for a top job moving forward.