Written By Patrick Pryor @patpryorgraphic
Just over three weeks after 23-year Giants veteran Jerry Reesed was fired as general manager, the organization proceeded to bring in Dave Gettleman. Hired by the Giants in 1999 as the Pro Personnel Director, he spent 13 years with New York before heading off to Carolina, eventually helping the team reach Super Bowl 50, where they lost to Peyton Manning in his last game. Failing to improve the team, Gettleman was fired after a 6-10 season. In Carolina, he went 40-23-1, winning the NFC South every year but his last. A team veteran, the hire wasn’t special, but analysts we’re excited to see him move around the team. Joining a 2-13 squad, expectations weren’t high. We’ll be going over all the moves he’s from joining them until the start of the 2018 season:
2017: His only moves of 2017 were signing two offensive linemen, Adam Bisnowaty and Nick Becton, and tight end Ryan O’Malley. Bisnowaty played one game and is currently playing for Denver, while Becton was released before the beginning of the 2018 season and is still a free agent. O’Malley came from the practice squad, but would be released the same day as Becton. A brief stint with the AAF, and he’s another free agent.
2017 Rating: F: You can’t blame him for a bad year. He had three days and they did win the last game of the season.
January: Hired Pat Shurmur. Shurmur hasn’t had the best track record; leading the Giants to a 5-11 record tied for his personal best. He did show some promise, and is back for another year, currently enjoying a good preseason.
January Rating: C. Shurmur still needs to prove himself to this.
February: Mike Shula hired as offensive coordinator and James Bettcher as defensive coordinator. The day after Valentine's Day, Gettleman overhauled almost every single coach. With the key pieces still in place, as of 2019 he’s looking at this being a good move.
February Rating: C. Just like the HC, all these coaches have something to prove.
March: Signed safety Michael Thomas, OG Patrick Omameh, S Curtis Riley, T Nate Solder, LB Kareem Martin, CB Teddy Williams, RB Jonathan Stewart. Released punter Brad Wing.
Michael Thomas was one of the best special teams players last year, making the Pro Bowl with 12 special teams tackles, bringing a bright spot to a team that didn’t perform well and helped mentor a young defense to earn an easy roster spot. Patrick Omameh started six games, got injured and was released quickly afterwards; he’s now on the Saints. Curtis Riley was a reliable back with four interceptions and 75 tackles, but was lost to the Raiders in free agency. On March 15th, Nate Solder became the highest paid linemen in the NFL, inking a $62-million contract for four years. He wasn’t the best, and fans were upset that they spent so much money on him. Kareem Martin gained 48 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two pass deflections through the season after signing a three year, $21-million contract. Teddy Williams was released for family reasons and hasn’t returned to the NFL. After six games, he was placed on injured reserve and retired. Brad Wing played in the AAF, but hasn’t been on a field since.
March Rating: D. Michael Thomas, Kareem Martin, and Nate Solder are still on the roster. While Michael Thomas is a top level player, Martin and Solder are average, and given the money, they should both be performing better.
April: Resigned C Brett Jones and TE Ryan O’Malley while signing CB WIlliam Gay and P Riley Dixon. Released WR’s Brandon Marshall and Darius Powe.
O’Malley and Gay were waived in September, while Jones was traded for a 7th round pick to the Vikings. Riley Dixon is the current starter. Brandon Marshall’s release was the best move of the month for the Giants. He was supposed to be reinforcing a stellar offense, but got injured and underperformed before that.
April Rating: D. None of the free agents except Dixon are there, but a few needed releases were made.
There were other additions, however, that came by way of the NFL Draft.
2018 NFL Draft: With the Browns taking Baker Mayfield, the answer couldn’t be any clearer for Gettleman: Saquon Barkley. In an amazing season, he won the Rookie of the Year and established himself as one of the best backs in the league. In the 2nd round, they picked up Will Hernandez. As a PFWA All-Rookie, he started 16 games and is still the starter heading into Week One. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter came to the Giants with the 66th pick, and in 15 games he had 43 tackles and 4.0 sacks, not to mention four passes defended- a solid third round pick. BJ Hill, a defensive end, had five more tackles and 1.5 sacks more than Carter despite being selected just three picks before him. Kyle Lauletta was taken in the fourth round. After the last GM and coach were fired for benching Eli, no one was expecting Kyle Lauletta to get any snaps. In his first year, he threw five passes, completed none, and also gave up an interception. As of August 30th, he’s on the roster, but most likely for a few more hours. RJ McIntosh was another end taken by the Giants in the 5th round, but wouldn’t play until he dealt with a Thyroid condition. He ended the season with five tackles in six games.
Draft Rating: B+. A few busts in the late rounds, but you can’t deny Gettleman credit in taking Saquon. While almost everyone would’ve, it’s still such a great addition to the team, there’s no overlooking it.
May: Signed QB Alex Tanney, DT A.J. Francis, OG Chris Scott, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OG Malcolm Bunche, WR Alonzo Russell, DB Mike Jones, RB Robert Martin, and WR Russell Shepard. Waived S Ryan Murphy, Damien Mama, WR Canaan Severin, Terrell Watson, P Austin Rehkow, CB Brandon Dixon, Adam Bisnowaty, LB Derrick Mathews, CB C.J. Goodwin, TE Stephen Baggett, and CB Bryon Fields.
Alonzo Russell was sent to the practice squad in September and fought for a roster spot this preseason, making some good plays, while Shepard had 10 catches for 188 yards; both are still on the roster. Alex Tanney stayed on as the second quarterback on the depth chart, but had a disappointing 2019 preseason. Francis, Scott, Lewis-Harris, Jones, and Martin are all off the team, and except for signing draft picks to their rookie contracts, almost none of the players signed this month worked out. While trying to improve the team through free agency, Gettleman truly fell flat.
May Rating: D
June: Signed OT Jarron Jones, TE Scott Simonson, Kenneth Durden, Taylor Symmank, TE Garret Dickerson. Waived WR KEeon Johnson, OT Tyler Howell, DB Jeremiah McKinnon, DB Mike Jones, DB Aaron Davis.
Simonson managed to last one year, snagging nine receptions, and Dickerson is also on the active roster, with no receiving stats to his name. Jarron Jones, Kenneth Durden, and Symmank, however, failed to make the team.
June Rating: D-. Once again, a miss of several signings for Gettleman. Hoping to find a diamond in the rough, nothing helps the Giants since the draft.
July: Signed DT Izaah Lunsford, LB Connor Barwin, G Zac Kerin. Waived G Ethan Cooper.
With one of the bigger signings of the offseason, former All-Pro kicker Connor Barwin signed a two-year contract; he would play just one year. Zac Keirn wouldn’t make the regular season, and neither would Lunsford.
July Rating D-. “Wholesale changes” were supposed to come to the Giants, but a few signings here and there haven’t done anything to change the outlook for the upcoming season. The only positive is the fact they haven’t signed anyone to a contract too large yet.
August: Signed RB Jhurell Pressley, LB Warren Long. Waived LB THurston Armbrister, CB Teddy Williams.
August Rating: D-. Yet another month goes by with no useful additions.
2018 Offseason Grade: D+: The only thing preventing Gettleman from completely failing in his first offseason was that he didn’t waste a ton of money and drafted Saquon Barkley. Otherwise, John Mara should’ve been disappointed. Looking for changes, he got very little. In free agency, he didn’t add any game changers, and instead just signed and let go many players.