Keidel: Jets' Blunder Is Welcome News For Giants

GM Firing Moves Spotlight Off Big Blue, Onto Gang Green

Jason Keidel
May 18, 2019 - 9:00 am
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For the last few weeks, all the local NFL chatter has been about that foul draft cloud raining on the Giants. Nearly everyone with a laptop, smartphone or microphone was pouring invectives on the G-Men for their scalp-scratching selection of Daniel Jones with their first pick.

For a few, ephemeral days, the Giants were the punchline of the Meadowlands.

But the best thing that happened to Big Blue was Gang Green. This week the Jets canned GM Mike Maccagnan, which would not be big news if they had done this five months ago. But they let Maccagnan sign free agents and handle the entire draft. Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that the club bagged Maccagnan and promoted the head coach he hired, Adam Gase, to the interim GM position. Gase and his former boss were entangled in beefs over pay and personnel, and, as only the Jets can, they made it all exponentially worse by picking a side at the worst time.

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So the Giants, verbally and editorially mauled since April 26, can hide in the shadow of another Jets implosion. It was the Jets, not the Giants, who had stability. It was the Jets, not the Giants who had their franchise QB. It was the Jets, not the Giants, who took the most talented player in the NFL Draft. It was the Jets who had a firm, corporate pecking order.

With one move by Christopher Johnson - Woody Johnson is too busy being an ambassador - the Jets have resumed their position as the club that can't get out of its own way.  Instead of gleeful chat about the potential of Le'Veon Bell behind Sam Darnold, or the skills of C.J. Mosley, or the stratospheric potential of DT Quinnen Williams, the Jets are back to their sad, chaotic ways.

Adam Gase
Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Images

Thanks to the Jets, the Giants are no longer under siege, aren't deflecting questions or enduring endless caricatures of their own GM, Dave Gettleman, who had become the corporeal piñata of New York City sports, his bromides and Boston accent adding comical layers to his dubious selection of the former Duke QB. We aren't laughing at his nth referral to Kim Jones as "Dah-ling" or the laughable assertion that Jones could sit behind Eli Manning for up to three years. We aren't baffled by the comparison of his QB situation to that of the Packers when they had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

The Giants are saved by the Jets, their co-tenants and potential antagonists, who were just about to leapfrog the Giants as the team of current record. But should we be surprised? There's a reason the Giants have been to five Super Bowls since 1986, winning four. Meanwhile, the Jets have been to one, in the same year man landed on the moon. They haven't had a truly great QB since those days with Joe Namath. Maybe Eli is too long in the tooth, but he delivered two Lombardi Trophies and earned a ticket to Canton.

The Giants may not be a model franchise, but with one bad draft, we were ready to bury them behind the Jets. In fact, the recent rattling among the Jets’ brass changes the entire dialogue. Now the shock of trading Odell Beckham Jr. has turned into wisdom, trading talent for tranquility. Now we're drooling over reports that Gase didn't want Le'Veon Bell at his price, that Gase thinks gifted runners are too plentiful to make a $52.5 million investment in just one.

So now there are fissures all over the Jets, who have again devolved from Gang Green to gangrene. By contrast, Big Blue looks like the picture of serenity. Instead of running with Josh Norman's toxic shots at Gettleman - he suggested the Redskins should put the Giants GM on the payroll because he's helping Washington - we're dismissing the barbs as leftover anger from Norman's days with Gettleman in Carolina (Gettleman rescinded a franchise tender to the cornerback, forcing Norman to find another club).

Dave Gettleman
USA TODAY images

Gettleman is now the only GM at MetLife who actually qualifies for the job. The Jets just hired Gase - who limped to a 23-25 record as head coach of the Dolphins - and then handed him the next most important gig on the squad. If he hasn't proved himself on the sideline, it's hard to imagine he will morph into Ozzie Newsome in the front office. Even if the Jets tag a new GM soon, the optics are irrevocable.

It's rare that the Giants should thank the Jets. For now, at least, they can focus on football, not the army of critics who think they botched their draft and picked a QB that Todd McShay rated as the 59th-best player in college last year. No one is complaining about losing Landon Collins to free agency. No one cares that Charlie Casserly is about the only pundit on the planet who gave the Giants an A for their botched draft.

If you needed a reminder that the Jets can't handle success, even on the back page, they just served a big one. And no team is more grateful for this than the Giants.

Twitter:@JasonKeidel