Keidel: After His Contradictions About Beckham And Giants, Gettleman Should Be Firmly On Hot Seat

GM Is Quickly Losing Credibility With Fans

Jason Keidel
March 13, 2019 - 11:19 am
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The Giants aren't a punchline because they are rebuilding. They are a punching bag because they told us they weren't.  

On its surface, the seismic trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns was not an awful football move. It's only appalling because they told us they weren't trading their biggest star. 

The Giants aren't a joke because they jammed the reboot button. They are a laughingstock because they told us they'd be competitive this year, not years down the NFL line. 

We often hear that great teams are top-heavy with talent. You need a strong owner, who smartly delegates to his general manager, who picks the players and hires the head coach. But if there's a linear or logical chain of command at MetLife Stadium, we can't find it. The Mara family has run this club with prudence and patience for many decades. But they have been known for some wayward eras. Like having two coordinators named Lombardi and Landry yet hiring neither of them as head coach, which led to a laughable 74 wins from 1964 to 1978. Like hiring the soft-hearted Ray Handley to replace the stone-fisted Bill Parcells. Like all things Ben McAdoo.

MORE: 'Boomer & Gio': Trading Odell Beckham Jr. Was The Right Move For Giants

The Giants were once so bad that Commissioner Pete Rozzelle had to step in like a boxing referee and separate the bickering duo of Wellington Mara and nephew Tim Mara, and ordered the two to hire George Young. It worked, very well. And the Giants have been to five Super Bowls since, winning four. 

But it feels like the G-Men are easing into another sinkhole, another lost era of bad football, vintage 1970s. It's about way more than their record and sinking slot in the NFC East. They have no identity. Other than rookie sensation Saquon Barkley, where is the future? There's much to like about Jabrill Peppers, the former Michigan Wolverine who flashed ample promise while part of Cleveland's secondary. Big Blue must make the most out of the Browns' first- (No.17 overall) and third-round picks to make this deal halfway likable.

And, of course, there are a few things to dislike about Beckham. He's a full-grown diva with social media rabbit ears who's overly sensitive to anything that resembles criticism. He quit on the 2018 season, taking a powder for four games because the Giants were out of the playoff hunt. He also checked out of two games to get fluids, when he could easily have done so during halftime or when the defense was on the field. 

It's also true that Beckham's team-first behavior was never organic but rather in lockstep with some hustle -- a way to get paid, mostly. He fooled most of us with his newfound Zen last summer, which quickly dissolved after he got his $90 million contract. Then the me-first wideout came bursting out, from interviews with Lil Wayne to hints that he was unhappy with playing or living around the greatest city in the world. 

MORE: Reports: Giants, S Antoine Bethea Agree To 2-Year Deal

So there's a case to be made for trading Beckham, in his prime, and getting a substantial haul in return. The problem is the Giants never made such a case, and incessantly insisted that Beckham was here to stay, for his talent and temerity (and celebrity, if we're being candid).

If general manager Dave Gettleman had any street cred or collateral or goodwill with Giants fans, that's all but evaporated, rising like a mist from the Meadowlands, a hard wind blowing it down the Hackensack River. The NFL carpet-bombs us with metaphors and euphemisms about family and loyalty, how each club is nothing but an extension of its city and close cousins with the fans who stuff their stadiums. 

It's hard to see how Gettleman survives his staggering contradictions. Even this young year, he repeated his battle cry that Beckham is the centerpiece of this proud franchise. He's got one last chance to save his job. If the GM of the G-Men doesn't get this draft right, he will have to exit stage left. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel.