What Giants general manager Dave Gettleman didn’t say, when asked if the team would consider trading wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason spoke about as loudly as what he did, when asked at his end of season press conference last week.
“We didn’t sign him to trade him, if that’s what you’re asking me,” Gettleman said.
When pressed, asked directly if that meant Beckham would be a Giant in 2019, Gettleman replied, “You heard what I said.”
Neither of those answers were “no,” or “we have no interest in trading Beckham, and teams would be wasting their breath if they called.
Remember, this the same man who ordered his staff not to pick up the phone when the Giants were on the clock with the No. 2 overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft. This is the same Gettleman who wouldn’t accept “a bag of donuts, a hot pretzel or a hot dog,” for the No. 2 overall pick.
Gettleman’s intentional vagueness signaled that the Giants aren’t actively trying to trade Beckham, but are all ears for teams willing to make an offer.
From that basis point, the Giants should absolutely try to trade Beckham to the San Francisco 49ers, if the opportunity presents itself.
Look, moving on from Beckham does not make the offense better in 2019, that is without signing a top-tier wide receiver as a free agent and/or drafting one high next April. That much is obvious from the team’s 1-3 record in the final four games of 2018, without Beckham in the lineup.
However, when the Giants traded away nose tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Eli Apple at last year’s trade deadline, it began a belated rebuilding process that moving on from Beckham would not only continue but could possibly raise the ceiling on how dominant they have the potential to be in coming years.
Likewise, it is entirely possible that Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur do not view Beckham as the kind of person that they want to build their culture around following Beckham’s controversial comments to ESPN that led to a team meeting on the eve of a loss to the Carolina Panthers, and Beckham revealing a detailed timeline of his injured quad on his UNINTERRUPTED Facebook series despite Shurmur’s strict policy of players not discussing injuries.
A Beckham trade would be a very, very bold move six months after signing him to a $95 million contract extension, and would cost the Giants approximately $16 million in dead money. But, a trade would clear $16.75 million of Beckham’s guaranteed money off the books.
Armed with approximately $34.8 million in cap space, the 49ers are among the few teams with the sweet spot of positional need and financial flexibility to accommodate a Beckham trade.
The 49ers will likely be on the lookout for a marquee wide receiver to pair with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, and could offer the Giants the No. 2 overall pick and a third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
If that’s the offer, Gettleman should accept it quicker than he unplugged the phones in the war room last year.
Securing the No. 2 overall pick would ensure that the Giants come away with either Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins or defensive end Nick Bosa, and still have the No. 6 overall pick to invest in the best remaining pass rusher on the board such as Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell or Dexter Lawrence, Michigan’s Rashan Gary, or Alabama’s All-America defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
Should Gettleman and the front office view Haskins as the Giants’ next franchise quarterback, it might take a bold move up the board to secure him. There is unlikely to be a quarterback other than Haskins viewed worthy of a top-ten pick to emerge in this class.
Additionally, if Haskins is not the apple of Gettleman’s eye, owning two picks in the top-ten ensures the Giants the chance to add two elite prospects and fill two holes on a roster that tied for the league-lead with the upward trending Cleveland Browns with 24 losses over the past two seasons.
The Giants engaged in trade talks regarding Beckham last offseason, and if the 49ers call with an offer Gettleman can’t refuse, he probably shouldn’t refuse it.