EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants are in a rebuild. They won’t want to say it. Nobody likes that word in a sport where the current Super Bowl champion had a losing record the prior year. Admitting a rebuild is the equivalent of flipping the bird to your paying customers for the rest of the calendar year.
It’s just hard to look at the big picture and find a better term for what the Giants are doing, and what really needed to be done earlier this year. They’re 1-6 and just traded starting cornerback Eli Apple, a first-round pick (No. 10 overall) in 2016 by the previous regime who had played fairly well this season.
Apple’s had his problems since joining the Giants. He was far from a building block after being suspended and benched during a tumultuous season last year. But he’s a usable player at a premium position who has talent and value on the open market. So he’s now in New Orleans in exchange for a fourth-round pick next year and a seventh-round selection in 2020.
Now it’s a question of, “Who’s next?” in exchange for draft capital which will yield more promising young players.
This is much more of a statement on the current state of the Giants than it is on Apple. They’ve lost 19 of 23 games over the past two seasons and general manager Dave Gettleman is in “sell” mode trying to turn over the roster he inherited form Jerry Reese after a massive offseason miscalculation.
The Giants tried to band-aid their roster off a 3-13 season by primarily signing and trading for veteran pieces while recommitting to quarterback Eli Manning. We’ve seen how that’s unfolded. Many of their free agent acquisitions flopped and they’re currently tied for the worst record in the NFL. As for their 37-year-old quarterback, he has seven touchdown passes in seven games and looks like a boxer stumbling trying to avoid that final knockout blow. He may not make it through the full 16-game season.
It has forced Gettleman to throw his hands in the air and concede before the bye week. It’s time for the overhaul, a full-blown rebuild after his initial approach backfired badly.
With the NFL’s trade deadline set for next Tuesday, teams may as well just come and submit their best offer to the Giants. Just about any veteran with a movable contract is believed to be available. Note: That does not include star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who signed an extension potentially worth $95 million this summer.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison are viable candidates to be dangled. Safety Landon Collins and linebacker B.J. Goodson are other names that could draw interest. For the right price, Gettleman (who is known to be aggressive) might just pull the trigger.
It’s all necessary given the current state of the franchise. The Giants’ future is muddled, at best. They have a bevy of weapons but no quarterback to build around for the future. That’s a pretty important missing piece, and must be priority No. 1 this offseason. They also have to successfully rebuild their offensive line.
It’s not as if they haven’t tried to fix the line. It’s just not that easy and may be need a long-term view. The previous regime spent high draft picks and signed notable free agents in an attempt to fix the problem. That didn’t work.
Gettleman spent a lot of money this offseason signing left tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh in addition to drafting guard Will Hernandez in the second round. That was supposed to be 60 percent of the Giants’ starting offensive line solidified. It didn’t work either.
Omameh was already benched and Solder has experienced his up and downs, even if he was an upgrade from Ereck Flowers, another former first-round pick recently exiled from the Giants roster. Flowers was waived several weeks back after beginning the season as the team’s starting right tackle.
All this has led to a team in current and future flux. It has led to a team finally conceding to a rebuild. They don’t even really need to admit it’s in motion. Their results and actions do it for them.