According to a New York Daily News report, Gettleman is the lead candidate to succeed Jerry Reese. Reese was fired last Monday in his 11th season on the job along with head coach Ben McAdoo. Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams has assumed Reese’s duties on an interim basis.
The Cleveland Browns, the only NFL team with a record worse than the Giants’ 2-11, also fired their general manager, Sashi Brown, last week. The two leaders among candidates not already in an NFL franchise’s front office are Gettleman and former Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey.
The Browns, knowing that Dorsey would be no higher than second on the Giants’ wish list of candidates, hired him on Thursday. Now, all signs point to Gettleman becoming the fourth general manager in franchise history (Wellington Mara was the team’s de facto general manager from 1937-74 and Andy Robustelli was de facto general manager from 1974-79 when George Young was brought in in an official capacity).
Gettleman has extensive ties with the Giants. Besides working with and having a friendship with Accorsi, he was a team scout in 1998 and served as the pro personnel director from 1999-2011. Gettleman spent the 2012 season as a senior pro personnel analyst before being tapped by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to become the team’s general manager.
Before his Giants tenure, he was a scout for both the Buffalo Bills (1986-93) and Denver Broncos (1994-97). The teams he scouted for won a combined five AFC Championships (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997) and Super Bowl XXXII. As an executive, Gettleman’s teams won four NFC Championships (2000, 2007, 2011, 2015) and made three Super Bowl appearances with two victories (XLII, XLVI).
Gettleman was considered for the general manager position when Accorsi left the team in 2007 before Reese was ultimately selected. At 66 years of age, he might not be in the job for the next decade. However, Gettleman could either bring in a candidate to groom for the position or simply hand the reins over to Abrams.
On the flip side, Gettleman was fired by the Panthers in July for a personality conflict with Richardson. Gettleman and Richardson’s relationship was just fine in 2015 when the Panthers had an NFL MVP in quarterback Cam Newton and a 15-1 record. All was well between owner and general manager despite the Panthers losing Super Bowl 50 to a Broncos team led by what was left of Peyton Manning and the NFL’s best defense.
Gettleman had falling outs with veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., cornerback Josh Norman, and running back DeAngelo Williams. All three players departed in free agency and the team felt it was prudent to part with Gettleman as negotiations with tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Luke Kuechly were on the horizon.
Other potential candidates include Green Bay Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf and director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, Baltimore Ravens assistant general Eric DaCosta, Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay, and Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton.
NFL rules prohibit teams from contacting front office employees regarding vacant position until after that team’s season is over. There have been exceptions made to that rule but Mara said last week he wants to have a general manager in place before the end of the regular season on Dec. 31.
The next Giants general manager will have to decide on a head coach with the input of ownership. Is Steve Spagnuolo, who has NFL head coaching experience, going to get the interim tag removed or is the team going to hire someone else?
There also has to be a decision made about the quarterback position.
Eli Manning turns 37 on Jan. 3. Currently, the Giants have the second overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft. This year’s quarterback class has drawn some comparisons to the Classes of 1983 (with Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino) and 2004 (with Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers).
The Giants must first decide on a general manager before a head coach and quarterback. Gettleman is part of the Giants family with a noteworthy resume. It makes the most sense for the organization. But, if this season has taught Giants fans anything, is that just because it makes the most sense doesn’t necessarily mean ownership will do it.