Gettleman and the Giants already traded Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers for loose change and are moving on from many of the big names they splurged on over the last two years. If they trade Beckham, even for a fistful of draft picks, they might as well make Quitting on Talent the team’s 2018 motto.
Granted, much of the talent quit on the Giants last year. It makes sense for a 3-13 team to shed some salary and move on from older players.
Their veterans grew expensive and cantankerous in the years since their championship, making a reboot inevitable.
The problem comes when a rebuilding team starts giving away its best rebuilding blocks, as the Giants are itching to do with Beckham and the Seahawks did with Richard Sherman, because they convince themselves that the locker room needs an attitude adjustment. That’s how teams either get stuck in endless rebuilding cycles or become mediocre for years, waiting for the stars to finally align and make everything perfect.
In their quest for alpha dogs, the Dolphins have added four players over 30, an edge-rusher who hasn’t tallied double-digit sacks since 2014 and a 35-catch-per-year slot receiver to replace their 100-catch-per-year slot receiver. They got older and less talented after a 6-10 season and are hailing it as progress. They’re poised to go 5-11 this year—but very professionally.
The Bills have been playing mad scientist with their team chemistry since head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane arrived last offseason. The new regime traded offensive starters Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins and Cordy Glenn for draft picks over the last two years. They’ll spend the next month trying to trade those draft picks for one really high draft pick. They’ll use that really high draft pick to draft a quarterback who will have no one to throw to and a depleted line protecting him. At least McDermott will have a locker room full of his type of guys, most of whom are defensive linemen and linebackers.
The cap-rich 49ers then added Richard Sherman, Weston Richburg and Jerick McKinnon in free agency, and they’ll have a chance to bring in more talent with a top-10 pick in the draft.
But there were clues that the Niners were better than their results prior to that late-season dash. When San Francisco started the 2017 campaign 0-6, five of those losses came by three points or fewer, and two came in overtime. They could have easily started 3-3 or even 4-2, which means they seriously could have been a 10-win team had Garoppolo been the starter from the get-go.
This team is even better than that one, and the Cardinals and Seahawks have both taken steps backward. Don’t be surprised if Kyle Shanahan’s squad makes a playoff run in 2018.