Dave Gettleman is one of the NFL’s most controversial GMs. He is often criticized for question moves either via free agency, or trades. However, this hate for Gettleman is undeserved.
Yes, the Giants have been awful under Gettleman. However, the team he inherited from Jerry Reese was grossly overpaid, and the players weren’t as effective as they once were.
An instance of this was Olivier Vernon. Vernon was an EDGE rusher that the Giants acquired under Reese via Free Agency. Despite the fact that he performed relatively well with the Giants, Vernon and his gigantic contract (a 19.5 million dollar cap hit) was not worth keeping around, especially considering the fact that Vernon struggled with injuries most of his Giants career. Gettleman flipped Vernon and his awful contract to the Browns, in exchange for Kevin Zeitler, an offensive guard that committed just 2 penalties and allowed 3 sacks in 15 games (with Remmers starting next to him), and overall, was a bright spot on an otherwise porous offensive line. Vernon, in his only season with the Browns (was cut this offseason) registered 3.5 sacks. For Gettleman, this trade was an absolute steal, as the Giants got back an offensive-lineman that is a top 10 player at Right Guard.
The Odell move, like it or not, was also a great move made by Dave Gettleman. A trade first viewed as lopsided in the Browns favor, the package of Safety Jabrill Peppers, the 2019 17th Overall Draft Pick (used on DT Dexter Lawrence) and the 2019 96th Overall Draft (used on EDGE Oshane Ximines) ended up being a much better package than just OBJ, who struggled with the Browns, putting up just 64.7 yards per game and a 55% catch percentage, which were significantly lower than his marks in those categories in 2018, (97.7 YPG and 62.1% Catch Percentage). A major regression in production for Odell could be blamed on coaching or Baker Mayfield not being good, but a year after the Odell trade, it seems like a fleecing by Dave Gettleman.
Additionally, Dave Gettleman has been great at finding diamonds in late rounds of the draft. Darius Slayton, a wide receiver out of Auburn, was one of these players. Drafted with the 171st pick in the 2019 draft, Slayton was great in his rookie season, putting up 740 Receiving Yards in 14 games (only starting 9), and led all rookies in TDs. Ryan Connelly, a MLB drafted 143rd in the 2019 draft, was incredible in a very small sample size. Prior to blowing out his ACL early in the 2019 season, Connelly impressed during pre-season and once he started for the Giants, Connelly put up really good numbers. In just 3 starts (tore his ACL in Week 4) the rookie intercepted the QB twice, and had 20 tackles (10 solo). Making a big impact in just a couple games, Connelly should be starting at MLB for the Giants next year if the ACL injury doesn’t have a long lasting impact on his play.
Gettleman also has a knack for finding franchise running backs in the draft. With Carolina, Dave Gettleman selected Christian McCaffrey 8th Overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, who had an absolute monster season with the Panthers last year, when he ran for 1,300 yards, had 1000 receiving yards, and 19 total touchdowns, in a campaign that would’ve won him MVP, if Lamar Jackson didn’t have an even crazier year. The following year, in his first draft with the Giants, Dave Gettleman drafted the extremely talented Saquon Barkley, who needs no introduction. Saquon burst onto the scene in his rookie year, with 1300 yards and 11 Touchdowns, and still managed to put up 1,000 yards in his Sophomore Season despite an ankle injury which hindered him for most of the year.
New York media tends to paint Dave Gettleman as a bad GM, just because he doesn’t like to leak to the media. Ultimately, this is the reason that most fans think that Gettleman needs to be fired, which should not be the case. Gettleman put together a team that went 15-1 (lost in the Super Bowl) in Carolina, and is doing his best to do the same with New York. Compared to the team he inherited, the 2020 Giants are in a much better place, all thanks to Dave Gettleman and his team building.