The window opens after this weekend to interview candidates from other teams for vacant head-coaching jobs. The Giants reportedly won’t be getting a head start, or any start, on that effort.
Not mentioned by Schefter is G.M. Dave Gettleman. Several weeks ago, NFL Media — partially owned by the Giants — reported that Gettleman won’t return. The Giants never pushed back against that report, essentially confirming it. The Giants could fire Gettleman or announce that he won’t be back next year in order to commence the process of interviewing external candidates; however, the two-week head start adopted earler in the month for coaching searches does not apply to General Managers, according to the NFL.
Of course, the next G.M. in New York will have his hands tied on the way in, as to the identity of the coach. It’s a forced marriage that the new G.M. will have to embrace. Ideally, the next G.M. will be happy to work with Judge and won’t be looking for an opportunity to dump Judge for someone else. Every budding G.M. has a list of preferred coaches to work with. The best outcome for the Giants would be to find a G.M. who can truthfully say that Judge is on the list.
The best place to find that G.M. would be to look to New England, and to hire someone who has worked with Judge during his time there. That’s how those relationships are crafted and formed, by working together and building rapport, comfort, and trust over time.
Many believe that the Giants will ultimately opt for an internal hire, with V.P. of football operations/assistant G.M. Kevin Abrams regarded as the favorite for a promotion. As it relates to the team’s ongoing struggles with personnel, however, it’s hard to reconcile putting the blame on Gettleman and excusing the rest of the front office.
The other important point continues to be that ownership has fingerprints all over the front office, from John Mara’s understated role in making decisions about the team to his brother, Chris Mara, serving as senior V.P. of player personnel to their nephew Tim McDonnell, serving as co-director of player personnel. As we’ve previously suggested, the Maras operate a lot like the Joneses, but without the obvious accountability to the back pages of the tabloids. Unlike Jerry (owner/G.M.) and Stephen (various title that make him No. 2 if not at this point No. 1) in Dallas, the Maras have others who get roasted for moves that they approved if not endorsed if not overruled others in the organization to bring to fruition. But it’s Gettlemen (and before him Jerry Reese) who gets the pink slip — and then the next candidate steps into a spot where the power perhaps doesn’t match the title.
Consider, for example, that (if Schefter’s report is accurate) the new G.M. has had the two most important decisions made for him, with not only the coach but also the quarterback staying put for 2022. Of course, the last part has a greater chance of being convenient puffery in the hopes of eventually trading the player later. Besides, Jones’s full compensation package of nearly $4.1 million is fully guaranteed for 2022. At that rate, he could stick around as the backup to the next quarterback. (The bigger question for Jones is whether his fifth-year option will be exercised by early May.)
Will the next G.M. will have the power to pick the next quarterback with only the input of the coach and not ownership to consider? In New York, probably not.
That said, most owners have a finger in the stew. They like to be able to say they don’t in order to avoid being criticized for bad decisions or blamed for chronic dysfunction. In New York, however, it should be obvious that ownership has three big ladles swirling deep in the pot. Any G.M. with real options elsewhere will likely opt for an opportunity that doesn’t entail being partial figurehead and future scapegoat. The hand-picked successor to Gettleman, therefore, becomes both luxury and necessity. The Maras will want someone who will accept the current realities of the job and, thus, the eventual menu of choices will fit within those parameters.