Dave Gettleman

Pat Shurmur Likely Won’t Be Fired In 2019; Latest On James Bettcher, Dave Gettleman

Although the Giants suffered an embarrassing loss to the Jets on Sunday, head coach Pat Shurmur will not be fired before the end of the 2019 season, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes. Furthermore, team ownership is not going to force Shurmur to make any changes to his staff, which means that DC James Bettcher is safe as well.

That does not mean, however, that both men will be with the Giants in 2020. New York is 2-9, and while the club’s roster has some major holes, Shurmur’s play-calling has come into question during his two-year tenure with Big Blue (though as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Shurmur has no intention of giving up play-calling duties). Shurmur has also come under fire for his in-game decision-making.

Meanwhile, Bettcher is in charge of the league’s 26th-ranked defense, but he has very little talent at his disposal. As Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com observes, Bettcher is operating without a quality pass rusher, middle linebacker, or cornerback, which has greatly limited the aggressive approach that he is known for. Raanan, like Vacchiano, believes that Bettcher will at least survive through the remainder of 2019, though if he is to be evaluated solely on the performance of his unit over the final seven games, he may not get another shot in New York. But Vacchiano says team brass recognizes the difficult position that Bettcher has been put in, and if the club’s rookies and younger players show signs of life down the home stretch, he could be retained for next year.

Shurmur could also get a third season in New York thanks to his work with rookie QB Daniel Jones. Though Jones has struggled with turnovers, he otherwise looks the part of a franchise signal-caller, and the Giants certainly don’t want to do anything to hinder Jones’ development. If that means keeping Shurmur around for another season, then so be it.

Likewise, GM Dave Gettleman could be on the hot seat, but his selection of Jones — which was heavily criticized in the offseason — may be what saves him. But Raanan says that ownership will think long and hard about Gettleman’s future with the team this offseason, and as of right now, there are doubts as to whether he is the right man to restore the Giants to competitiveness.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Williams, Gettleman, Hill

The NFL and NFLPA will conduct a joint investigation into claims made by Washington’s LT Trent Williams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Williams has been one of the best left tackles in football since entering the league in 2010. After solidifying the blindside in Washington for nearly a decade, Williams had been holding out for all of the 2019 season.

The team refused to move Williams before the trade deadline, but the tackle finally reported to the team on Tuesday. However, he has since failed his physical and publicly accused the team of failing to recognize the severity of a cancerous growth on his head this past summer. The team has since denied Williams’ claims of wrongdoing and called for a third-party evaluation. According to Rapoport, the collective bargaining agreement calls for a joint investigation amidst such accusations.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Giants general manager Dave Gettleman needs to answer for his trade deadline decisions, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Since the second day of training camp in late July, Gettleman has not answered questions from any reporters. Even more concerning, a Giants spokesperson said he is not currently scheduled to address the media again this season, per Slater. Currently at 2-6, many were surprised to see the team give up draft assets for impending free agent Leonard Williams. Moreover, the team recouped no draft capital for any of their veteran players. Slater maintains it is “part of the job” for Gettleman to take questions from the media regardless of how popular his decisions are.
  • Cowboys rookie second-round pick Trysten Hill has become a problem, according to Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News. Per Watkins report, the defensive tackle has recently been sent home after arriving late to practice and fell asleep in the middle of a speech by Hall of Fame basketball player Isiah Thomas. Dallas has not been publicly critical of Hill, but Watkins notes that even after losing starting defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford for the season, Hill remains outside the rotation.

Giants Tried To Trade Up For DE Josh Allen

Giants GM Dave Gettleman‘s oft-scrutinized decision to select Duke QB Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft is about to be put to the test, as Jones will make his first career start when Big Blue takes on the Buccaneers this afternoon. Although Jones’ performance in camp and the preseason helped to quiet the criticism a bit, it’s probably not an overstatement to say that Gettleman’s career with the Giants is riding on Jones’ right arm.

Many pundits expected the Giants to select Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen with the No. 6 pick, and when Gettleman went with Jones, the Jaguars scooped Allen up one pick later. Several days after the draft, Gettleman described the decision to bypass Allen as “agonizing.” He said, “I agonized over that. I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”

In fact, Gettleman was so enamored with Allen that he tried to trade back up with the Jaguars to get him, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (video link). The Giants were also armed with the No. 17 overall pick, so they may have had enough ammo to pull off such a deal, but Jacksonville wasn’t interested in passing up a talent like Allen.

Gettleman indicated post-draft that he knew of at least two teams that would have taken Jones before New York was back on the clock with the No. 17 selection, and Rapoport confirms that was the case (Twitter link). We heard earlier that the Giants also tried to trade up with Denver for the No. 10 overall selection, but they ultimately held onto the No. 17 pick and drafted DT Dexter Lawrence. Gettleman finally achieved a trade-up when he dealt pick nos. 37, 132, and 142 to Seattle in exchange for the No. 30 pick, which he used to draft CB Deandre Baker.

If Jones becomes a franchise signal-caller, this will all become little more than an interesting footnote. Allen, though, is living up to the hype thus far, having posted two sacks and seven pressures in the first two games of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Looking Ahead To The Giants’ 2020 Offseason

As Dan Duggan of The Athletic observes, the Giants are projected to have at least $55MM in cap space to work with during the 2020 offseason, and they could easily create another $20MM or so of room by cutting veterans like Janoris Jenkins and Alec Ogletree. New York GM Dave Gettleman has never really had that type of cap space to work with, and his time as the Panthers’ top exec was generally marked by free agent frugality.

Gettleman did have $50MM to spend during the 2017 offseason with Carolina, and he used a lot of that money on a five-year, $55.5MM contract for free agent OT Matt Kalil and a five-year, $80.5MM extension for homegrown DT Kawann Short. Indeed, Gettleman’s track record show that he prefers to focus most of his expenditures on extending his own players rather than splurging on outside free agents, and he said at the end of this year’s draft, “[i]f you have confidence in your drafting skills, you know that in two, three years you’re going to be able to start extending, and you always want to be in a position to extend. Shame on you if you can’t keep your good young players home.”

That leads Duggan and Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, whom Duggan cites in his piece, to predict that Gettleman will use his 2020 riches on perhaps one big-ticket item while filling in the gaps with several mid-level signings (Fitzgerald also suggests that Gettleman could explore a trade or two). The hope, of course, is that Daniel Jones will be prepared to lead the club’s offense by that time, and having the starting quarterback playing on a rookie contract is one reason why Big Blue is projected to have so much cap space. Gettleman may be tempted to try to accelerate his club’s return to contention by using that money on multiple top-tier FAs, but as the Giants’ prior regime learned in 2016, such a strategy is rarely successful. Theoretically, the team could roll over some of its cap room to 2021 and beyond to make sure there are enough reserves to extend young talent, but Fitzgerald does not believe Gettleman, with a second-year QB at the helm, will sit on his money.

So assuming the Giants do make at least one big splash, what will they spend on? Duggan examines each position group and assesses the likelihood that Gettleman will make a major FA investment in that position, and he believes that a high-end offensive lineman and/or pass rusher are the most likely targets. Assuming they actually become free agents, Duggan suggests Bryan Bulaga and Daryl Williams could be on Gettleman’s short list of O-lineman, while Jadeveon Clowney would be at the top of his edge rusher priorities.

Regardless, 2020 will be a pivotal offseason for Gettleman and the Giants, and a strong performance in free agency could have the team competing for the NFC East crown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Gurley, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants

Much has been made about Todd Gurley and his knee, which caused him issues in the 2018 postseason. The Rams didn’t do much to quiet those rumors when they tabbed Memphis running back Darrell Henderson with the No. 70 pick in the draft.

The team, however, is adamant the pick of Henderson has nothing to do with Gurley’s status, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Though the team did mention monitoring the perennial Pro Bowl back’s workload.

“Like we have said all along, we anticipate Todd being a huge part of this like he has been the last couple of years,” head coach Sean McVay said. “As far as managing the workload, those are things that we talk about with Todd and as you continue to get educated on, is that something that we should do for the long haul or something that is or isn’t going to affect Todd most importantly and how does that affect our team? But we added a really good playmaker was a big thing.”

Henderson was one of college football’s stars in 2018, rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017.

It will be interesting how the Rams handle their backfield in 2019. In addition to Gurley and Henderson, the team also matched an offer for running back Malcolm Brown.

Heres’ more from around the NFC:

  • Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, per Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (via Twitter). Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey will team up in repping the Maryland product, who posted 788 yards on 55 receptions in 2018.
  • The Cowboys are expected to be extremely cautious with cornerback Byron Jones, who underwent offseason hip surgery, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota tweets. Machota mentioned Jones, a breakout star in his first season as a cornerback, will be “highly managed,” but they do expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
  • Sticking in Dallas, new slot receiver Randall Cobb said he signed with the team because he wanted to play on a contender, Machota writes“Once I talked to everybody I knew this was the place,” Cobb said. “I definitely believe in this team. I felt like I wanted to be on a team that was a contender and I definitely believe that we have the ability, it’s just putting the pieces together.” Cobb replaces Cole Beasley in the slot, after the latter left for Buffalo early in the 2019 offseason.
  • The Giants will bring back veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Though the team drafted three cornerbacks, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman left no doubt Jenkins would be back, saying, “Janoris has a bunch of puppies he has to train.”

Gettleman: Beckham Deal An “Offer I Couldn’t Refuse”

In the lead up to the NFL Draft, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addressed the team’s trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns for a first- and third-round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers, calling it an offer he couldn’t pass up, Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor writes

“It was a business decision,” Gettleman said. “Back in the day when you franchise-tagged a player, if someone came and signed them, that gave you two first-round picks. That’s only happened once in the history of the NFL, and that was Sean Gilbert.

“So basically I had a team call me up that offered me not only two No. 1 picks [Peppers was a first-round draft pick in 2017], but a third-round pick as well. And it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Though the deal appeared too good to pass up to Gettleman, it did leave $16MM in dead money for the Giants, who inked the receiver to a five-year, $95 million contract ($65MM guaranteed) back in August.

It was just the latest move that has drawn the ire of Giants fans. Many were also upset when the team passed on taking Sam Darnold with the No. 2 pick to take Saquon Barkley. Though Barkley impressed as a rookie, the team still has a 38-year-old quarterback in Eli Manning it needs to find a successor for. The plan appears to be to take that signal-caller with one of its first-round picks this Thursday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Rumors: Haskins, Draft, Manning

More steam is building for the Giants bypassing a quarterback at No. 6 overall to take a pass rusher. They have been rumored to be interested in this draft’s bevy of front-seven talents while simultaneously being less than enthralled by this crop of passers. One Giants source informed Ralph Vacchiano of SNY the team will have a tough time passing on a defender at 6.

There are a ton of great defensive players in this draft,” the source told Vacchiano. “As much as we need a young quarterback, I honestly don’t know how we can pass on one of the pass rushers at 6.”

This follows a Vacchiano report that indicates the Giants are “strongly” leaning in the direction of drafting a pass rusher at No. 6. The Giants’ visit list, so far, includes Nick Bosa and Josh Allen. Both players may be gone by the time New York’s first draft window opens, with Quinnen Williams possibly set to be a top-five selection as well. However, players like Montez Sweat, Ed Oliver and Rashan Gary may well still be on the board at that point. The Giants have gutted their pass rush in consecutive offseasons, trading Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. They finished with 30 sacks in 2018 — the second-lowest total in the league. New York added Markus Golden in free agency but still needs help on the edge.

Here is the latest on the Giants, shifting to the other side of this debate:

  • Despite this buzz surrounding Big Blue and pass rushers, the Giants still have a glaring long-term need at quarterback. And this is peak smokescreen time. As the Giants continue to research Dwayne Haskins, they remain pleased with the results, per Vacchiano. Should the Cardinals be running a historic Kyler Murray smokescreen operation and the Heisman Trophy winner drops to the Giants, Vacchiano adds they would still take Haskins over the 5-foot-10 passer. The Ohio State breakout star is the likely choice, if, in fact, the Giants go quarterback at 6. Haskins is set to visit the Giants.
  • The Giants also sound interested in filling their post-Manning quarterback need via trade for Josh Rosen, if he becomes available. They have discussed this internally and are expected to be a suitor, and many around the league believe New York’s No. 37 overall pick would be enough to get this done. The Giants do not have their own third-round pick, which would have been near the top of the round, but do hold a No. 95 choice as a result of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. That by itself might not be sufficient for the Cardinals’ 2018 first-round QB.
  • The Eli Manning-in-2020 rumors may be quite legitimate. Giants brass do not believe the 38-year-old quarterback has declined to the degree most of the NFL media does, Vacchiano notes. The hope remains the Giants will have Manning’s heir apparent lined up this year, and Daniel Jones has now surged into the conversation, but Vacchiano adds the Giants “will not hesitate” to extend Manning into 2020 if not. They would like him to mentor his successor, whether said passer arrives this year or next.
  • Dave Gettleman is taking plenty of heat for his offseason decisions, most notably the ones that sent away Beckham and Landon Collins. But Giants ownership is fully on board with the second-year GM’s plan, Vacchiano writes, adding that ownership likes that Gettleman has attempted to create a better culture in the locker room.
  • Pass rushers and quarterbacks aside, the Giants are on linebacker Devin White’s visit list.

Giants GM: “We Were Not Actively Shopping” OBJ

The Giants may have talked to several teams about Odell Beckham Jr. before pulling off a trade with the Browns, but general manager Dave Gettleman said he was “not actively shopping” the star wideout. Speaking to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the executive discussed how the trade ultimately developed, noting that the receiver’s distractions (along with a hefty offer from Cleveland) made a trade more palatable.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park,’’ Gettleman said. “We were not actively shopping him.’’

The Browns apparently made an offer that grabbed the attention of the Giants, with New York receiving Cleveland’s first-round pick (No. 17 overall), third-round pick (95th overall), and young safety Jabrill Peppers. While the Giants never intended to trade Beckham when they signed him to a lucrative five-year, $95MM contract last August, the Browns’ offer was ultimately too good to refuse.

“Some have questioned why we signed Odell [last August] and then traded him,’’ Gettleman said. “We didn’t sign him to trade him but obviously things changed. Frankly, what changed is another team made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As it turned out, the fact he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and allowed us to get legitimate value.’’

Gettleman did acknowledge that he made one phone call regarding Beckham. Following the Bills’ failed pursuit of former Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, the Giants contacted Buffalo about a trade. The general managed said he also had “numerous conversations’’ with 49ers general manager John Lynch. Based on Gettleman’s assertions, we can only assume it was Lynch who contacted the Giants’ front office.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Dennard, Browns, Steelers

Still unsigned, Darqueze Dennard remains an option for the Bengals. But the franchise looks to have given the cornerback a price point. The Bengals have not closed the door on a reunion with the sixth-year cornerback, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they have since signed B.W. Webb and retained some of their own free agents. The most recent negotiations between Dennard and the Bengals revealed a disconnect, with the team viewing him as strictly a slot cornerback — and one they may not consider paying at the top-market slot price Justin Coleman just reset with the Lions. Dennard’s camp came in with an offer north of what Coleman just signed, proposing a deal north of $10MM per year with the Bengals, Dehner reports, adding the corner’s representation never came back to the table with the Bengals. The team was willing to keep Dennard at around $8.5MM AAV, but that was before reaching a deal with Webb. The new Bengal corner played for first-year DC Lou Anarumo with the Giants.

Dennard was scheduled to visit the Chiefs this weekend. Shifting first to a higher-profile AFC North situation, here is the latest out of this division:

  • John Dorsey called Dave Gettleman on Monday to ask if Odell Beckham Jr. was indeed available. The Giants’ GM had twice said in 2019 he did not extend the wideout to trade him, but Gettleman told Dorsey he was, in fact, willing to move Beckham, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey had several Beckham trades planned, but Cabot adds the talks never included Emmanuel Ogbah or Duke Johnson. Both of those pre-Dorsey Browns investments are now on the trade block.
  • As for the player the Giants did obtain for Beckham, Jabrill Peppers profiled as one the Browns did not want to let go. Despite being a Sashi Brown-era draft choice, Dorsey wanted to keep the improving safety, per Cabot. But Cleveland’s second-year GM was not going to let Peppers stand in the way of acquiring Beckham. Gettleman was “adamant” about Peppers’ inclusion in this trade because of the Giants’ recent decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency, Cabot adds. The Giants are planning a versatile role for the third-year safety. Peppers can be under Giants control through 2021 via the fifth-year option.
  • The Steelers‘ acquisition of Mark Barron will likely not preclude them from using another early-round pick on a linebacker, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac (on Twitter). Pittsburgh did not elect to devote significant resources to replacing Ryan Shazier last year but has used four first-round picks on linebackers since 2013 — Jarvis Jones, Shazier, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt. Shazier’s unfortunate circumstances may again prompt the Steelers to use a first-round choice on an off-ball ‘backer.
  • Eli Rogers‘ latest Steelers contract is for two years, not one, the team announced. The auxiliary receiver may have a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s 2019 offense, considering Antonio Brown is out of the picture and Rogers is entering an offseason healthy. He tore an ACL in the Steelers’ 2017 divisional-round game and only played in three games last season.

Giants Notes: Collins, Foles, Manning

All signs have been pointing to the Giants using the franchise tag on Landon Collins, but that’s far from a done deal, according to GM Dave Gettleman (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). The Giants are “still evaluating” whether to use the tag on the safety, so it’s a situation to monitor between now and the March 5 deadline.

These decisions aren’t made in a vacuum,” said Gettleman when asked about the safety who is less-than-pleased with the notion of the tag. “So many things come into play.”

Collins may or may not have cleaned out his locker earlier this month, but the 25-year-old has already made it clear he doesn’t want to be cuffed by a one-year, $11.2MM tender.

So let’s go to the conversation of eliminating distractions,” he said. “You tag a guy. He’s mad. And that’s all you guys are going to write about. For six months it’s what it’s going to be. So I have to say to myself, ‘Is it worth it?‘”

While Gettleman mulls that question, here’s more on the G-Men: