The New York Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman, has defended his team’s decision to trade away Odell Beckham Jr, one of the best players in the NFL.
The Giants sent Beckham to the Cleveland Browns in return for first- and third-round draft picks and safety Jabrill Peppers. Beckham had clashed with the Giants in recent seasons but many believe the Giants had given up one of the best wide receivers in the league cheaply – especially after they had only just paid the 26-year-old a $20m signing bonus on a new contract, and Gettleman had said: “We didn’t sign Odell to trade him”.
In his first public comments, Gettleman looked to explain the deal. “The obvious question is why,’’ Gettleman said on Monday. “After much discussion, we just believe this is in the best interest of the New York football Giants. I want everybody to know this was purely a football business decision. There’s no intrigue, there’s no he-said, she-said, none of that stuff. Odell is a tremendous talent, which made him a valuable asset. With football being the ultimate team game, we turned that fact into three valuable assets, at the very least.”
The Giants have finished bottom of the NFC East for the last two seasons, and their starting quarterback, Eli Manning, is 38 and in decline. Gettleman hinted the extra draft selections the team picked up in the Beckham deal will help them build for the future. “We didn’t sign him to trade him but obviously things changed. Frankly, what changed is another team made an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said. “As it turned out, the fact he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and allowed us to get legitimate value.”
He said that the Browns had approached him rather than the other way around, although he had contacted the Buffalo Bills about a possible move. “Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park,” Gettleman said. “We were not actively shopping him.”
Gettleman also defended Manning’s record. “This narrative that Eli is overpaid and can’t play is a crock,” Gettleman said, according to NJ.com. “At the end of the day, you have to say, ‘Gettleman is out of his mind’ or ‘he knows what he is talking about when he evaluates players.’ That’s really where it’s at. I’m OK if you disagree with me.”
Beckham’s trade caused shockwaves in the NFL and further afield. Beckham summed up his move to the Browns in one word when he spoke to ESPN’s Josina Anderson: “Wow”. The New York Post had similar sentiments: its back page headline the morning after the trade read: “OMG OBJ”. Meanwhile, LeBron James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of last season, had his say on Beckham coming to his hometown: “OH MY!!!! S*#% just got REAL!!” he posted on Instagram.