EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, under intense scrutiny in the wake of a disappointing season that led to the firing of coach Pat Shurmur, conceded Tuesday that his job performance over the last two seasons was “not good enough.”
Gettleman has seen the Giants win nine games over his two seasons in charge, and many felt the 68-year-old should have been fired along with Shurmur after New York lost to Philadelphia on Sunday to finish a 4-12 season.
Speaking for almost 30 minutes in his first meeting with the media since training camp, Gettleman was asked to grade himself over the last two seasons.
“Really, it hasn’t been good enough," he said. “It will get better.”
Gettleman spent much of his time at the podium defending his moves and accepting blame for what has gone wrong.
He was grilled over the trade to acquire defensive lineman Leonard Williams from the Jets in late October. It cost the Giants a third-round draft pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2021.
What made the move questionable is that the 25-year-old Williams is eligible to become a free agent. Gettleman said Williams told him Monday that he wants to stay. The conditional fifth-rounder would become a fourth if Williams signed with the Giants before free agency.
Gettleman said the trade allowed the Giants to evaluate Williams. They believe he can help stop the run and pressure the quarterback, two keys he feels necessary to winning.
Gettleman also was questioned about his decision to trade Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland in March after signing him to a new $90 million contract before last season, his decision to keep Eli Manning after the 2017 season and his failure to talk to the media this season, leaving Shurmur to field the tough questions when things went south.
The longtime executive said it was too early to judge the Beckham deal because the Giants got three rookies and safety Jabrill Peppers in return. He said the quick development of Daniel Jones led to the decision to bench Manning this season and he felt bad about leaving Shurmur to face the heat.
However, he also said few general managers talk to the media during the season.
The Giants have made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl following the 2011 season, missing seven of eight seasons, including the past three.
“It’s getting better, and this is frustrating for all of us," Gettleman said. “I’m not happy about this. Ownership’s not happy, we’re all frustrated. But unfortunately, it takes time.”
The Giants have turned over their roster since Gettleman was hired and he said the team will start winning as soon as the “puppies come along."
Co-owner John Mara put Gettleman on the hot seat for the 2020 season on Monday in allowing him to return.
“I feel that pressure every day, whether I’m in my first year or 15th year,” Gettleman said.
Gettleman contradicted himself a couple of times. He said teams are built through the draft while defending the deal for Williams, which will cost the team draft picks.
Gettleman spoke about the organization expanding its use of analytics and noted the team hired four new computer pros. He later said he “met with a big-time analytics guy.''
Gettleman seemed surprised when asked if his style might turn off some potential candidates for the head coaching job. He insisted he was not hard to work with and that key decisions in the organization are not made by one person.
The Giants are expected to have at least $70 million in cap space as well as the No. 4 pick each round in the draft.
Gettleman downplayed the cap space, noting $20 million must be set aside for either current contract extensions or an attractive player suddenly becoming a free agent.