Opinion: Giants fans should be concerned about OBJ trade following John Mara's comments
It’s been about two weeks since the New York Giants' blockbuster trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, and the subject is still a hot button topic in the New York media.
Many Giants fans are still distraught over the deal and continue to voice their opinions regarding the team and its management. All the local media outlets continue to discuss the impacts of the transaction while asking other questions that provoke new discussion on the directions of the Giants organization.
Amidst all the debate and hysteria, a few members of the Giants brass finally decided to come out and speak about the trade. One of those members was New York Giants co-owner John Mara.
Following the public statements made by general manager Dave Gettleman regarding the trade, in which he insisted the deal was “purely about football” and not about any behavioral antics, Mara got in front of a microphone and gave his thoughts about the whole situation.
Standing in front of members of the media at the 2019 NFL Owners Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, he gave a message of reluctance and uneasiness which should make all Giants fans a little concerned.
What John Mara, who shared sentiments with his co-partner Steve Tisch, admitted to the media was that the Odell Beckham Jr. trade was one of the toughest he has ever made and that, after what sounded like diligent poking and prodding, gave a “reluctant” approval to send the generational star to the Browns:
“I will tell you it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell [Beckham Jr.] very much, and I recognize the unique talent that he has. It's not easy to trade that player to another team.”
He also mentioned that the details of Beckham’s new deal that was agreed upon several months prior had a big effect on his delayed approval. Beckham’s deal, which is now going to leave a hefty bruise of dead money against the Giants’ cap, was the main cause of fans’ unhappiness following the trade.
While the Giants owner did come out and provide what was wanted by everyone following this story, what was said in the press conference by Mara is far from reassuring to the Giants fans who want to know that their team has a plan in place to return to prominence.
It is one thing for the Giants to have a general manager who makes extremely questionable decisions as Gettleman has, and same with Jerry Reese prior, but it is a totally different thing when they have an owner, through whom all final decisions are made, who sounds like he was pressured into making a momentous decision and now has regrets about it.
As an owner of the franchise, Mara needs to portray confidence in his decisions and the belief that this really will help the New York Giants in the long run. He did neither of these things and instead just reaffirmed fans’ fears about the team.
The Giants are the team under the spotlight for the upcoming 2019-2020 season, and not in a good way. The HBO series “Hard Knocks” has them as favorites for this year’s season. They have a GM whose goals of rebuilding quickly yet still competing at the highest-level conflict with each other and this is seen in his managerial decisions.
The roster is lacking talent in a few areas on the defensive side, yet instead of bringing that talent in, we’re seeing good players elsewhere being thrown under the bus for the team’s problems and sent off to new destinations.
Eli Manning, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who has hit the sunset years of his career, will need an eventual replacement, but prospects might be turned away by the recent questionable decisions by the franchise.
Now, to top it all it off, the owner, the head honcho of the organization who is most responsible for keeping the best football interests of the team and its fans in mind, is making public statements about how he reluctantly signed off on a deal to trade away a generational star who, if built around, could help lead a team to the promised land.
It all seems as if Mara knew, as did the fans, that Odell Beckham Jr. was a game-changing contribution to the Giants offense and should be kept. However, in the end, he succumbed to the persuasiveness of his GM who claims to have a plan to get this organization back to winning ways.
So far, it doesn’t look like that “plan” is taking shape all too well. Since Dave Gettleman came over from Carolina where he served as GM and had a bad rapport with players for infamous decisions, several things have resulted from his plan which are detrimental to the Giants’ rebounding efforts.
First, free agent signings and draft picks of the Jerry Reese era, who truly kept the team afloat, have been let go or traded away for insufficient returns, i.e. Jason Pierre Paul. Yes, most of these players were being overpaid for overall performances, but that is a problem that can be fixed at the right time.
Second, instead of making these decisions about valuable players at a time when teams who’ve had something to offer are interested, decisions are made long after and the result leaves the Giants with nothing and provides another team with a solid player.
There were reports that the Kansas City Chiefs were among the teams interested in safety Landon Collins and gave offers, yet, the management decided to wait until his contract was up, not tag him, and let him walk and receive a massive contract from the rival Washington Redskins.
Lastly, the focus of the offense and the pressure to be dependable have shifted to the shoulders of a 22-year-old running back who has one year of experience under his belt and is still adjusting to the professional game.
Yes, Saquon Barkley is strong, quick, and has talent way beyond his years, but few teams in recent NFL history have thrived with only a talented running back to depend on for offensive production.
There may be Giants fans and those with football knowledge who look at the amount of draft capital that Dave Gettleman’s moves have brought to the team for the 2019 draft and view it as a silver lining for his deals.
While this is good thinking to have and it’s true that bringing in fresh, young talent can boost a team’s roster, the Giants have not done so well with their draft picks in recent years and there’s no guarantee that they will use it wisely and fix the team’s real problem areas now.
The Giants have drafted players in problem areas like the offensive line before, but some of these players have been huge busts. One of the prime examples of this was right tackle Ereck Flowers who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars and wasn’t a positive contribution to their offense when in the game.
To conclude, credit must be given where it is due to John Mara and others for coming out and explaining one of the most memorable moves by an NFL team in recent memory.
However, what came out of their mouths and was documented by the press isn’t justifiable for a generational talent like Odell Beckham Jr and provides an unpromising message to the Giants' fan base and the New York market who want to see their teams succeed.
Have caution heading into April’s draft in Tennessee, Giants fans.