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June 17, 2019

Jets firing Mike Maccagnan highlights the pressure on Dave Gettleman

May 18, 2019

Dave Gettleman now is the longest-tenured general manager in New York pro football.

But while Mike Maccagnan’s firing plastered the bumbling Jets on the back page, it did nothing to alleviate the pressure on Gettleman to deliver quickly for Big Blue.

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He is certainly not escaping the public pressure of his most controversial decisions anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Washington corner Josh Norman, whom Gettleman pulled the franchise tag from in Carolina in 2016, piled on during Wednesday’s episode of The Rich Eisen Show.

Washington has landed three of its top players thanks to Gettleman: Norman via his 2016 free agency, Landon Collins via Gettleman’s decision not to franchise the safety this spring, and QB Dwayne Haskins thanks to the Giants passing on him with the No. 6 overall pick.

“I think we need to put him on salary,” Norman said of Gettleman, laughing. “I mean, they need to protect Dave Gettleman at all costs up in New York for sure, at all costs. Because he’s winning for us.”

Norman has his own problems, obviously. Washington has missed the playoffs in all three of his seasons there. His team has won more games (22) than the Giants (19) in that span, though, including 14 to Big Blue’s eight the past two years.

Josh Norman teed off on Gettleman. (Mark Tenally/AP)

Drafting Daniel Jones sixth overall could buy Gettleman time if co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch believe it unfair to judge the GM before his quarterback ultimately proves his worth.

This isn’t just about Jones, though. It’s also about assembling a competitive roster that can win games and shut up critics like Norman (and yours truly!).

Maccagnan had a .375 win percentage (24-40) in four seasons as Jets GM. Gettleman has a .313 win percentage after one 5-11 season.

The sample size is much smaller, but if the percentage doesn’t rise significantly, the GM’s results in a results-based business will speak for themselves.

Gettleman wants you to forget about year one, and he has tried to revise a lot of history on how the Giants’ 2018 season went down. The reality is simple, though:

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Gettleman went into his first season trying to build a win-now team around Eli Manning.

The entire organization badly miscalculated Manning’s remaining ability, but Gettleman’s offensive line rebuild also was a complete swing and miss.

He quickly did an about-face claiming this always was a patient rebuild, but that hadn’t been the initial plan. It simply became the new message when it all went terribly south.

Gettleman is now in the awkward middle ground of trying to win while also rebuilding, making various roster decisions that conflict in their goals and message to the club. This leaves the team in limbo.

Mara and Tisch understand there needs to be a process, and they are trusting the one that Gettleman is selling to them/creating with them. But they are tired of losing.

There certainly will be tolerance for some losses if Jones enters as a rookie and struggles, since that is expected of any rookie quarterback.

Still, if both Jones and the roster inspire little confidence by late December, there will need to be serious reassessment on what exactly is happening here.

Maccagnan, after all, was fired despite selecting Sam Darnold, whom many believe will turn out to be a legitimate, winning, franchise QB.

Maccagnan made that pick with a mulligan, though, after keeping his job despite picking Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg in the 2016 second-round. Hackenberg never even took a snap in a regular season game.

It’s unclear how long Gettleman has to turn this around.

If Jones shows he’s legit quickly, it’s possible Gettleman would leave earlier than expected on his own and do exactly what he said he’d do: retire to Cape Cod and watch with a smile at having delivered the Giants’ next franchise QB.

The Giants need to start winning, though, and Jones needs to be the real deal, or else Gettleman will meet Maccagnan’s fate much quicker than many would expect.

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