The Giants season is over. Despite undergoing sweeping changes in the offseason, the results didn't change significantly on the field.
Bottoming out with a 3-13 record a year ago, Saquon Barkley with the second-overall pick over quarterback Sam Darnold, let Eli Manning start another season, gave Odell Beckham Jr. a monster contract, and proceeded to win five games in 2018. Now, they're entering the upcoming draft holding in a draft lacking franchise-changing quarterbacks like the Baker Mayfields and Darnolds of last year's draft.and picked running back
On Wednesday, Giants general manger Dave Gettleman met with reporters for a season-ending press conference. During the proceedings, he doubled down on his decision to draft Barkley, refused to commit to Manning in 2019, but at the same time, spoke glowingly of Manning's skillset, and indicated the team won't try to trade Beckham.
We'll begin with Manning, because that's really the biggest decision the Giants have to make this offseason. Do they stick with a soon-to-be 38-year-old franchise icon at quarterback even though he's been a below-average quarterback for several seasons now?
Gettleman didn't commit to bringing Manning back, but he also didn't sound like he's fed up with Manning's quality of pay.
Dave Gettleman on Eli Manning:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) January 2, 2019
"He can still make NFL throws. He's still got it."
GM Dave Gettleman said they’re in the “evaluation process” and wouldn’t commit to Eli Manning returning at this point. Gettleman and Manning had an extensive “no-holds barred” conversation on Monday. Gettleman said all decisions will be in the best interest of the Giants.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) January 2, 2019
The problem is, if the Giants wanted to replace Manning, they should've done it a year ago, when the draft was filled with potential franchise-changing quarterbacks. Mayfield went first overall to the Browns, so there was nothing the Giants could've done to grab him. But with the next pick, they could've taken Darnold, who ended up going a pick later to the Jets. While Darnold initially experienced what can be best described as growing pains, he finished the season on a strong note, flashing the traits that made him a highly-touted NFL prospect.
Instead of taking Darnold, the Giants picked Barkley, a generational running back talent who submitted a phenomenal rookie season with 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns from scrimmage. The only problem is, the Giants still need a long-term quarterback. And there might not be one in this year's draft. The Giants could've taken Darnold and then drafted a running back in the later rounds like, say, Nick Chubb or Phillip Lindsay. Neither of those running backs are as talented as Barkley, but they're good enough. The tradeoff to acquire a franchise quarterback would've been worth it, just because of how much more important quarterbacks are than running backs. Put it this way: Barkley had a historic season, and the Giants still went 5-11.
But it should come as no surprise to hear that Gettleman doubled down on his decision to take Barkley. He defended his decision at the time, when he mocked analytics by pretending to type on a keyboard, and he defended it again on Wednesday.
Finally, there's Beckham. AfterBeckham put together a 77-catch, 1,052-yard, and six-touchdown stat line in only 12 games. Along the way, as is often the case with Beckham and the Giants, there was plenty of drama -- from Beckham calling out Manning to Beckham indicating .
We still don't know if Beckham will be forced to catch passes from Manning in 2019, but it certainly sounds like Beckham will be back with the Giants next season. On Wednesday, Gettleman shot down the notion that the Giants will try to move Beckham so soon after giving him an extension.
Dave Gettleman on Odell Beckham: "We didn't sign him to trade him."— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) January 2, 2019
And now, the process of rebuilding begins again as the Giants prepare for free agency and the draft. Based on the events of last offseason and, it's entirely fair for Giants fans to be skeptical of Gettleman and the current regime, and their plans to drag the Giants out of the bottom of the NFC East.