Let’s keep it 100: Dave Gettleman doesn’t appear to be a very likeable human being. He has undoubtedly brought some negative publicity on himself, especially since becoming general manager of the New York Giants.
One of his actions that remains controversial was the decision to trade Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns months after making him the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver. Gettleman’s mantra of “we didn’t sign him to trade him” kept rubbing salt in the wounds of Giants fans who were pissed that he would send one of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers to NFL purgatory for seemingly so little in return.
After the events of this week, even the most die-hard Gettleman haters must admit he was onto something when he decided to part ways with OBJ.
On Monday, Beckham was in his hometown New Orleans to watch his alma mater LSU defeat Clemson in the College Football National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After LSU’s 42-25 win, Beckham was seen on video handing what looked like a stack of money to a pair of LSU receivers in direct violation of NCAA rules. At first, LSU said the bills were fake. LSU quarterback (and presumed No. 1 overall pick) Joe Burrow later said the money he received was real.
There was also video that surfaced of Beckham apparently slapping a police officer on the butt. The officer had come to LSU’s locker room to warn players who lit up victory cigars they could be subject to arrest. A misdemeanor simple battery arrest warrant was issued for Beckham on Thursday but was rescinded Saturday after the officer dropped the charge.
This is classic OBJ behavior. The focus has shifted from LSU’s historic run that culminated in knocking off the defending national champion to potential NCAA violations and a slapped butt. Beckham made headlines for some of what the Giants would call the wrong reasons during his five seasons with the team. Perhaps Gettleman saw this coming nearly a year ago.
I’m personally not going to trip about Beckham breaking off some of the LSU players with some loot. Both schools made off with a lot of money from appearing in Monday’s championship game which eventually trickled down to the coaching staff. This isn’t about NCAA rules and regulations. If Beckham is going to hand out money, that’s all fine and good. It’s his cash. He’s certainly earned it. However, the fact he couldn’t be a little more aware of his surroundings and not appearing to know or care about the repercussions is a head scratcher.
This also doesn’t let Gettleman completely off the hook either. He has made some head scratching moves of his own. Thirty-nine million dollars of cap space was allocated to TWO players in 2019 (Beckham and quarterback Eli Manning) who played a combined four games for the Giants. Meanwhile, the Giants tied a franchise mark of futility with a nine-game losing streak. And Gettleman did hire Pat Shurmur among other questionable moves.
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At the same time, it is easy to forget he inherited a team that was outright awful. Some very difficult decisions had to be made, many of which were unpopular. Most humans wouldn’t last five minutes in a job where they are getting second-guessed by media members and a few million people who swear up and down they can do it better.
Gettleman sending Beckham to the Browns wasn’t exactly selling Manhattan for $24. They received safety Jabrill Peppers, the 2019 first-round pick used to select defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, and the 2019 first-round pick used to select edge rusher Oshane Ximines. Peppers led the team with three forced fumbles while Ximines was tied for second in sacks with 4.5 and Lawrence showed flashes throughout the season.
“Really and truly, we’re not going to know about that trade for two years,” Gettleman said at his end-of-the-year press conference. “You can come back in two years and hopefully I’m standing here, we can have that conversation. I’m being honest, you have to wait. People immediately want thumbs up or thumbs down.”
There is also no replacing Beckham’s otherworldly talent. His 390 receptions and 44 touchdowns are both fourth in franchise history while his 5,476 receiving yards are only second to Amani Toomer’s 9,497. Beckham’s talent made it easy to look the other way when one of those inevitable negative publicity bringing situations would come up. This is not the case anymore.
Beckham caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns in his first season in Cleveland. This was only the second time in his career Beckham played all 16 games in a season. There were rumors that he was seeking a trade. The Browns have a new head coach and new general manager who may come to the same conclusion that the Giants brain trust did: that the talent level doesn’t match the distraction potential. Even if the Browns seek to move Beckham, there is little chance they get two first-round picks and a former first-round player in return.
Dave Gettleman appears to be a very unlikeable human being doing a job many of us wouldn’t last a day at. He has made some mistakes but he also has done some positive things. The book on his tenure as Giants general manager is still being written. This week proved he may have been onto something when he parted ways with Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants’ press releases this week have been all about coaching moves. Not a potential NCAA violation or slapped butt to be found.