Between now and next Thursday night’s NFL Draft, which will be held at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants have a potential franchise-altering decision to make. Will they hold on to the No. 2 overall pick or trade it for additional picks? If they stay in the second spot, will the Giants select a quarterback, multidimensional running back Saquon Barkley from Penn State or defensive end Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State?
Giants first-year general manager Dave Gettleman offered the media insight into his thinking on reviving a team that went 3-13 last season, which is ostensibly an extension of the views of owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, at the NFL Annual League Meetings late last month in Orlando, Fla.
As the future of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the Giants is still uncertain, Gettleman said he will not publicly discuss specifics of the wide receiver’s contract situation. Beckham is entering the last year of his rookie deal that will pay him $8.459 million this season and is reportedly seeking a lucrative long-term contract that will pay him roughly $20 million per season.
“Every decision we make will be in the best interest of the New York Football Giants,” said Gettleman. “One of the most important responsibilities that any GM has is to eliminate internal and external distractions, OK. It’s my responsibility to create the atmosphere that allows players to play and coaches to coach. I’m not going to respond to hypotheticals.”
While the general manager of the Carolina Panthers from 2013 to 2016, Gettleman, who worked in the Giants’ organization from 1999 to 2012, took a hard line in contract negotiations with some of the Panthers’ best players.
For the next week, the draft is Gettleman’s main priority. At No. 2, the Giants possess a very desirable commodity. “Have we had calls [regarding the pick]? Yes,” said Gettleman, answering his own question.
“Again, it’s about when you’re drafting, when you’re signing unrestricted free agents, it’s all about value. It really, truly is…guys, this is the second pick in the draft,” he emphasized to reporters. “We really have to picture this guy putting on a gold jacket,” Gettleman said in referencing the Hall of Fame jackets issued to inductees.
“When we set the [draft] board, when we have our conversations, is that guy worthy of being the second pick in the draft?…You can’t draft anybody with the second pick hoping. When you think about quarterbacks, the area code we’re picking in, does he make everybody else better?”
When speaking of the Bronx-born Barkley, Gettleman gushed about the 6-foot, 230-pound running back’s abilities. “It’s unusual. I’m telling you, he can string together moves and get in and out of stuff…He’s unique, no doubt about it,” he said.
Gettleman added, “He’s big, he’s powerful, he can step on the gas, he’s got different levels of speed. And he catches the heck out of the ball and he sees the blitz pickup stuff.”