Arguably the most surprising team thus far in the 2022 NFL season is the New York Giants. Not even the most optimistic of Giants backers would have predicted that they would be 6-2 heading into their bye week. This was a team that looked like one that had everything gone right during the season, they would have won six games total, let alone the first half of the season.
A lot of credit should be given to the job that general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have done. They inherited a mess left by the last regime as Dave Gettleman ran this franchise into the ground as general manager and put together an embarrassing product on the field that wasn’t aided by the poor coaching of Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge.
Schoen and Daboll are getting the most out of a roster that on a nearly weekly basis is overmatched in the talent and depth department. There are a few foundational pieces on the roster, such as left tackle Andrew Thomas, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and safety Xavier McKinney. Running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones are hoping to play themselves into that status as well.
But, overall, this franchise was done a disservice by Gettleman who struck out on nearly every free agent signing he made and failed to improve the depth of the team with multiple bad drafts. His biggest miss in free agency is part of the reason that the fan base was so divisive leading up to the NFL trade deadline earlier this week.
To build up the supporting cast around Daniel Jones, Gettleman signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency in 2021. He doubled down on the help, selecting wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft after trading back with the Chicago Bears, who selected Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
In theory, those were good moves. The Giants needed skill position players and Gettleman got some, but they were whiffs. To this day, Thomas, the franchise left tackle, has more receiving touchdowns than Golladay and Toney combined.
Toney will not have a chance to surpass Thomas on the Giants’ all-time touchdown receptions list as he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a third and sixth-round pick. Golladay will hopefully surpass him this season as he is looking to get healthy and return to the field in Week 10 when the Giants host the Houston Texans.
Trading away a player with the upside Toney possesses at a position of need seems like backward logic. But, there was likely more going on behind the scenes than we are privy to, as Toney seemed to hint at faking his injury in some social media posts. Alas, he is gone and Schoen set out looking to replace him.
6-2 is a great start, so it made sense that some people wanted to see the Giants make a move to cement their status as a playoff team. There were some wide receivers mentioned as trade targets such as Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler of the Denver Broncos, D.J. Moore of the Carolina PanthersBrandin Cooks of the Texans and Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Claypool was the only one of those four traded, as he was sent to the Bears for a second-round pick. The asking price on Cooks and Jeudy were reportedly very high as well, so Schoen decided to stay pat at the deadline.
This is a decision that disappointed some people, but it was the right one for the Giants’ front office to make. Schoen and Daboll have preached patience, insinuating that they have a plan in place on how to build the foundation for a more successful future for Big Blue. Had the opportunity arisen to acquire a pass catcher at a price they were comfortable with, there is no doubt he would have pulled the trigger.
That opportunity very likely never came as the Giants weren’t going to overpay for a wide receiver. 2022 was never the year New York was going to make a splash. This was a season meant for cleaning up the mess the previous regime left and it is certainly a pleasant surprise that winning some games is coming along with it.
Sacrificing assets, as the Giants would have needed to give up draft capital and likely restructure contracts and eat into future cap space, was just not worth it. Adding another win or two this season but deterring the long-term plan would have been a poor, short-sighted move that Schoen has been looking to avoid.
A better move would be to keep in touch with Odell Beckham Jr. as he continues to work his way back from his ACL injury. Once he is healthy and if Big Blue is still winning, they will be an attractive landing spot for him as there aren’t many teams that would be able to provide him with a role as big as the one the Giants could provide. Signing him also wouldn’t command long-term assets.
Even if the Giants go 4-5 the rest of the season, 10 wins should be more than enough for a playoff spot in the NFC. That would be proof enough that what Schoen and Daboll are doing is working and players will want to come here.
Shoring up the offensive line should be their No. 1 task, as they are showing great improvements this season. Once that is completed, they can address finding some more playmakers on the offense.
The arguments about making a move right now were certainly fair ones, as the Giants desperately need a wide receiver. But, laying the foundation is what is most important and Schoen and Daboll are succeeding in that area with flying colors. What they are doing this season is working and they are going to ride this out and look to make big additions in the offseason.