What Giants GM Dave Gettleman has done right and wrong in managing roster

Night net null There's an old saying that applies to sports teams and their leaders: It’s a short distance from the penthouse to the outhouse. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman understands this well.Four years ago, Gettleman was the toast of the town after being voted Sporting News Night net executive of the year. Except that town was Charlotte; he had just built the Panthers into a 15-1 team. Eighteen months later, he was fired. He quickly resurfaced as Giants GM in December of 2017 and inherited a train wreck of a 3-13 team. Things improved only slightly for New York at 5-11 last season. Gettleman's drafting of Saquon Barkley last April was questioned when so many top quarterbacks were available. Now he has charged into 2019 and really shaken things up, again creating angst within his critics. The recent trade of Odell Beckham Jr. six months after signing the star receiver to a massive contract tops the list, even with a good return in the deal."Trust me, we got a plan," Gettleman said this week. In a defensive manner, he added, "It's not my responsibility to tell you guys what we're doing." IYER: Giants among losers of free agencyAs a former GM, I understand that being second-guessed is part of the job. Gettleman seems a bit thin-skinned for a New York-area GM who should know darts are going to be tossed when he trades a big-

time talent such as Beckham so soon after pronouncing he “didn't sign Odell to trade him."In retrospect, after taking the reins in the Meadowlands back in 2017, I would have taken a different course of action than the route Gettleman has taken.And aside from recommending that Gettleman take a softer approach in his public comments, I have some suggestions for the Giants GM moving forward.MORE: What's next for Giants post-OBJ?Let's start with Beckham. I advocated for the Giants to trade him early last year after he had created too many on- and off-field issues and had a major injury (fractured ankle that landed him on injured reserve in 2017). Gettleman instead made Beckham the Night net's highest-paid receiver. Giants owner John Mara can't be thrilled with shelling out a $20 million signing bonus only to lose Beckham a year later (and then taking on the dead money hit) after the Browns made what Gettleman called an offer that was too good to refuse.I think the better course would have been to work out a sign-and-trade deal for Beckham last year. The Giants might not have gotten as strong of a return as they did this year, but they likely would have received at least a couple high draft picks. And without the dead money hit from Beckham, the Giants could have put the franchise tag on safety Landon Collins and kept him; or perhaps they could have traded him rather than losing their defensive leader and getting nothing in return.As for the trades of Eli Apple, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon, a big problem for the Giants has been the money former GM Jerry Reese invested in the signings of three players who are no longer with the team (along with Gettleman’s Beckham deal). The dead money strangling New York's salary cap on those four players amounts to approximately $30 million.I agree with Gettleman’s decision to trade Apple, an underproductive first-round pick who had issues in the locker room, even if the return of fourth- and seventh-round picks from the Saints was not great.However, I think Gettleman should have kept Harrison instead of sending him to Detroit in October for just a fifth-rounder. "Snacks" is still a solid defensive tackle. He just turned 30, so he should have several good years left, and his $6.75 million salary this season is reasonable. Instead, the Giants are taking on $3.2 million of dead money and need to replace one of the league's better run-stuffers.Reese overpaid for Vernon in his $17 million-per-year deal back in 2016. Considering what the team had invested in him (another $20 million signing bonus), I would have kept Vernon and not traded him to the Browns for guard Kevin Zeitler. The two players are about the same age, their salaries are not that different ($13 million for Vernon vs. $10 million for Zeitler), and an edge defender is always more valuable than an interior offensive lineman. Eating $8 million against the cap in moving Vernon does not make sense unless there are other factors at work, which does not appear to be the case.Moving forward, the heat is on Gettleman to strike it rich in the upcoming draft. As for the plan the GM claims to have, it better include a newly drafted quarterback. The populace is clamoring for Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray with the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft.Perhaps it is a pre-draft smokescreen, but Gettleman recently said he would like to pick a QB next month: "Obviously we have to address it. There (are) some quarterbacks in this draft, and I really like the Kansas City model."He was referring, of course, to the Chiefs' drafting Patrick Mahomes in the first round in 2017 and having him sit behind Alex Smith during his rookie year before taking over in spectacular fashion.MOCK DRAFT: Giants begin rebuild processGettleman could package the No. 6 pick and the third-rounder obtained in the Beckham deal and move up if he thinks it's necessary to get a top QB. Or he could stick at six and then use that third-round pick in a package with their second first-round pick (No. 17 overall) and jump up to select a playmaker at wide receiver. Along with holdover Sterling Shepard and a solid free-agent addition in Golden Tate, drafting a top receiver in the first or second round would somewhat appease Giants fans and media in the hope of replacing Beckham's production and taking the pressure off Barkley.Then, in a strong and deep defensive line draft, Getleman could work Rounds 2-4 to build up that unit. But don't be surprised if Gettleman goes D-line at No. 6 and O-line at No. 17 if he feels the talent warrants such selections. That would stir up the haters who are clamoring for a new QB and WR.The only certainty is that major progress needs to take place for Gettleman in the coming months and in the 2019 season. Otherwise, Mara might look at the totality of moves by Gettleman and decide to seek a new GM for the third time in the last four years.Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected Night net Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a business and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He makes speaking appearances to corporate/civic groups and college classes on negotiation and sports business/sports management. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNight net.