Dave Gettleman stuck his neck out during the 2019 NFL draft and will have to answer for a decision that was justifiably second-guessed even before serious accusations were made against New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker.
If charges leveled against Baker are true, then it’s fair to ask if the Giants have to consider dumping Gettleman as their general manager.
DeAndre Baker’s lawyer disputes criminal allegations
The attorney for DeAndre Baker issued a statement Friday saying the New York Giants cornerback has witness statements and video proving he is innocent of any charges related to arrest warrants for Baker and Seattle Seahawks player Quinton Dunbar.
The players are accused of an armed robbery at a party Wednesday in Miramar, Florida. Baker faces four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
Attorney Bradford Cohen went on social media to say his firm’s investigator has collected evidence exonerating Baker, who was a first-round pick out of the University of Georgia in 2019, and that the information will be turned over to authorities “at the right time.”
New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman gambled big in 2019
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman made an expensive move late in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft by dealing with the Seattle Seahawks. In order to move up seven spots to take DeAndre Baker at No. 30 overall, the Giants surrendered their second-, fourth- and fifth-round picks at a time when the franchise needed as many fresh bodies as possible to overhaul an inferior roster.
Baker stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie and made 61 tackles, but he had no interceptions and struggled with assignments, with The Athletic citing team sources as saying Baker lacked commitment. Then-head coach Pat Shurmur accused Baker of loafing in a mid-season loss and benched him for several series over the next two games.
The Athletic also reported Baker missed meetings this week during a voluntary minicamp being conducted through online meetings, which revived talk about Gettleman’s controversial draft-day decision.
The New York Post reported a schism in the Giants’ war room ahead of the 2019 draft.
“The story was he had to have his ass kicked every day to work hard at Georgia — to even go to practice,” a source told the newspaper. “We knew that and we still drafted him, and from Day 1 it was like taking a guy in the first round that you had to teach nearly everything to.”
Combined with Baker’s unimpressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, the doubts by his own staff had to mean Gettleman understood he was risking a substantial setback in the Giants’ rebuilding if Baker didn’t pan out.
Dave Gettleman is in a precarious position
Dave Gettleman worked his way up from a scout with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos to pro personnel director for the New York Giants and then four seasons as general manager of the Carolina Panthers, who fired him in July 2017. He resurfaced as the Giants’ GM five months later.
The Giants kept Gettleman while firing head coach Pat Shurmur this past offseason, but it’s difficult to imagine him surviving if the criminal allegations against DeAndre Baker are proven. For all the good he’s done salvaging the salary cap, Gettleman has been too slow repairing the two-deep.
Gettleman took Saquon Barkley second overall in 2018 with quarterbacks Josh Allen, Sam Darold, and Lamar Jackson still on the board. Barkley has proven his worth, but the Giants knew that having to replace Eli Manning was inevitable. Gettleman took signal-caller Daniel Jones sixth overall in 2019. Though Jones looks promising, the consensus was that the Giants could have traded down 12 to 15 spots and still have landed the Duke quarterback.
Gettleman has also made questionable decisions on veteran personnel. He signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a mammoth extension and then was fortunate to be able to pawn the enigmatic wide receiver off on the Cleveland Browns. The four-year, $62 million contract for left tackle Nate Solder is an albatross, and trading a pair of draft picks for Leonard Williams – who was going to leave the New York Jets as a free agent – midway through last season was a head-scratcher.
In summary, Gettleman has made a lot of high-profile decisions that look questionable. He needs to catch a break on the outcome of accusations against DeAndre Baker or he could be catching the next train out of New Jersey into a forced retirement.