Dave Gettleman is an old-school NFL executive who values winning in the trenches with strong offensive and defensive lines. That could be a good thing for the New York Giants, who have struggled to run the ball and had a sharp decline in 2017.
But Gettleman’s traditional football philosophies bordered on outdated when he spoke to the media Thursday. The new general manager of the Giants sounded more like an executive from 30 years ago.
He cautioned against the drafting of quarterbacks and spoke supportively of the idea that running backs are worth picking early. Here are three dumb things Gettleman said in the press conference exactly a week before the 2018 NFL Draft:
1. Running backs aren’t getting devalued
Gettleman: The devaluation of the running back is a myth.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) April 19, 2018
OK ... but, yes, they are. Gettleman can believe running backs are still valuable and establishing the run is important, but the fact that teams are spending less at the position is objectively true.
In free agency this offseason, Jerick McKinnon’s four-year, $30 million deal was easily the highest at the position and the only that included more than $10 million in guarantees. Meanwhile, the Vikings dished out a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal to Kirk Cousins.
It’s pretty simple: it’s difficult for running backs to get much on the free agency market, because they’re being — drum roll, please — devalued.
Should it be that way? The stats would tell you yes, but I suppose Gettleman can make the argument that having a top running back is transformative. But it’s certainly not a myth that the position is being valued less.
2. Taking a bad quarterback is devastating
Dave Gettleman: "When you're picking this high...you make a mistake...you miss on a quarterback...you probably hurt the franchise for five years. It's a five year mistake."— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) April 19, 2018
This one doesn’t sound bad, because yeah, taking a bad quarterback is not great. But there’s a few things wrong with it:
A) Are there positions other than quarterback where missing with the No. 2 pick is somehow OK? No, not at all. Whiffing that hard takes an already bad team and sets them back — that’s just how it works.
B) The idea that quarterback is more disastrous is really just tied to the idea that teams are viciously stubborn with their investments. Former Eagles president Joe Banner explains:
This is old thinking. The length of impact from a QB mistake is as long as it takes to admit you made a mistake & fix it. If Eli plays 2 yrs the time cost is minimal. On the other hand not having a good QB is a long long mistake. Look at length of time to replace some iconic ones https://t.co/8uzZe0gDQm— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) April 19, 2018
C) Yes, it’s risky taking a quarterback early. But it’s also risky not taking a quarterback early. The Raiders messed up big time picking JaMarcus Russell in a 2007 NFL Draft that saw Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, and Adrian Peterson go in the next six picks. But they also messed up three years earlier by taking Robert Gallery instead of Philip Rivers.
So yes, it wouldn’t be smart for Gettleman to take a quarterback who doesn’t live up to the No. 2 pick. No shit. But picking a bad player at any other position is no better and neither is passing on a good quarterback.
3. The Giants’ quarterback need is “hogwash”
Gettleman: "hogwash " to idea he needs to take a quarterback.— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) April 19, 2018
If you say so, dude.
Eli Manning turned 37 in January and really didn’t look too great in 2017 when he threw 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Giants’ wide receiving corps suffered approximately 157 injuries and everything else about the offense was bad, so maybe Manning deserves some slack. But conventional wisdom tells us his numbers probably won’t get much better as he approaches 40.
It’d also make sense to turn up the urgency dial on the quarterback hunt considering Manning is due to become a free agent in 2020 and the team could save $17 million by moving on in 2019.
Maybe the Giants like what they have in 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb, but they’re not sold he’s the guy of the future, it’d make sense for the team to search for that guy [checks watch] right about now.
Of course, it’s possible Gettleman is saying all this with the knowledge he isn’t interested in taking Saquon Barkley at No. 2 and that he’s in the market for a quarterback. It’s lying season, after all.
But if it’s an act, Gettleman played the role of Football Guy Who Wants To Win Super Bowl 23 Instead Of Super Bowl 53 convincingly.