The net negative on former New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman’s organizational footprint just keeps on growing and growing.
SNY NFL insider Connor Hughes joined WFAN’s Brandon Tierney and Sal Licata on January 26, and the New York football reporter revealed a “crazy story” about the pivotal 2018 draft year that yielded running back Saquon Barkley.
“I remember talking to [New York Jets general manager] Mike Maccagnan about this, because you remember the Jets were drafting third,” Hughes began while discussing Barkley’s free agent conundrum and how to relates to his original draft status.
“I’m like, weren’t you nervous that the [Cleveland] Browns and Giants were gonna go, [Baker Mayfield]-[Sam Darnold], and suddenly [the Jets are] landing the number three [quarterback]?” The insider recalled. “And [Maccagnan] goes — ‘No, because we had our sources that said the Giants were so locked in on Barkley at number two.’”
The conversation between Hughes and Maccagnan went on to reveal an honest draft day fear that the Denver Broncos might jump up ahead of the Jets via trade, in order to steal away Darnold.
“[The Jets] thought they were getting Baker at three,” Hughes noted. “They had Sam as their number one quarterback but thought they were getting Baker at three — and [Maccagnan] told me that the only time he got worried was that morning, because he knew the only person that loved Sam more than him was John Elway with the Broncos. And he was petrified that John was going to call the Giants and offer the house for No. 2 in order to get Sam Darnold.”
In the end, Maccagnan told Hughes that he spoke with Elway after the draft and the Broncos GM relayed that he did in fact call Gettleman to discuss a trade package for the No. 2 pick. Except, the Giants GM never bothered to pick up and listen.
“[Gettleman] was so locked in on No. 2 that he wouldn’t answer the phone,” the insider said, concluding: “So, when Dave said in his press conference they didn’t need to even take calls, they ran it up to get Barkley — he was not lying.”
Giants Dropped the Ball on Potentially Franchise-Altering Draft Trade
You might recall that Barkley was part of a rookie class that included several top-ranked quarterback prospects. Mayfield, Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson were all selected first round.
And whether or not these QBs have panned out is irrelevant to this story because at the time, all five were highly touted to some extent.
Darnold was held in especially high regard as a generational draft prospect at the position. That’s why selecting Barkley without even listening to trade calls is such a foolish blunder by Gettleman.
The Giants have often been criticized for passing on a quarterback prospect like Allen in favor of a running back. While that may be true, it’s more debatable being that Barkley has turned into a superstar in his own right and Allen’s gunslinger nature carried some risk.
Hughes’ story sheds light on something far worse — complete and utter negligence by the NYG front office.
Even the best running backs don’t typically get drafted top three, meaning Gettleman had an opportunity to trade back for a potentially franchise-altering draft haul from the Broncos. Darnold then goes second overall, with the Jets needing a QB at three and the Browns prioritizing defense (cornerback Denzel Ward) at four.
Ipso facto, the Giants land Barkley at five — plus a likely mountain of future draft capital. That’s what NFL fans call playing chess, although clearly, Gettleman never even mastered checkers.
8 Ex-Giants Will Play in 2024 Super Bowl
Since we’re taking a painful look into the franchise’s past, eight ex-Giants will be competing for a Super Bowl ring in February of 2024 according to USA Today reporter Dan Benton.
On the Kansas City Chiefs side, the headliners are wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Richie James. Toney helped KC win a championship last winter, while James was a member of Big Blue in 2022.
Former Giants coaches Steve Spagnuolo (defensive coordinator) and Dave Merritt (defensive backs) are also employed by the Chiefs.
As for the San Francisco 49ers, three players spent time with the G-Men. They are safety Logan Ryan, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and long snapper Taybor Pepper.
One staff member — Niners assistant HC and running backs coach Anthony Lynn — also briefly played football for the Giants during his non-coaching career.
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